The Republican Party has been praising Donald Trump and his accomplishment for working with South Korean President Moon to broker the summit meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. This would have been the first time in US history that a sitting president sat down with a North Korean Regime leader to discuss denuclearization and a possible future relationship.

The Trump-Kim summit was scheduled for June, but it would seem Kim Jong-un has had some time to think things over because now he has a problem with South Korea and the US conducting military drills, specifically the "Max Thunder" drills that are currently underway, according to reports from the Associated Press.

This announcement was perplexing considering Kim previously messaged that he was aware of the routine drills an was okay with the exercises. This was told to the Trump administration and the US in a televised press conference, when he agreed to meet with President Trump via a hand-delivered letter by South Korea's National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong to the White House on March 8.

Change of heart?

Kim's announcement Tuesday (May 15) afternoon caught the White House, State Department and the Pentagon totally off guard, according to CNN sources. The White House did not find out about the possible cancelation by fax, email or phone. Instead, they found the same way the rest of America did--from news reports.

According to early reporting from the Chicago Tribune, CNN, and other news sources, North Korea's Korean Central News Agency reported that the drills were “provocative military disturbances." And just hours before this announcement, North Korea suspended their talks with South Korea which were due to take place that same day.

Needless to say, the news spread quickly to the South Korean media outlets.

Shortly after the initial reports of Kim Jong-un possibly pulling out of the summit hit the airwaves, reporters caught up to the president crossing the White House lawn and shouted questions about the status of the summit, to which the POTUS offered no reply.

Since then, the White House released a statement saying, “We are aware of the South Korean media report. The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies.”

The truth comes out

According to a CNN report, late Tuesday evening (May 15) they cited the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) which stated their leader would not be "pushed into a corner" about their nuclear program. Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's First Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserted that North Korea would never give up their nuclear program regardless of the "economic rewards and benefits" the US wants to offer their country. In essence, the summit will not happen if Trump continues to push for denuclearization of North Korea.

This is their red line.

This is a topic that will surely be a talking point when South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits with Trump in the upcoming week, according to CNN. Hopefully, President Moon will get another chance to meet with Kim Jong-un, but it will take strategic planning and coordinated efforts from both the US and South Korea.

Spoke too soon

Over the past two and a half months, the POTUS has excitedly tweeted dozens of times about meeting with Kim. He also appeared publicly at campaign rallies denouncing the effectiveness of previous administrations for not doing what he had done with regard to North Korea. This garnered much praise from his supporters.

Trump’s prideful boasts were accompanied by statements that he would walk out of the pending summit if things did not appear to be going well.

This was at the advisement of his newly confirmed National Security Adviser John Bolton, who shared this strategy in a FOX News interview back in April. Bolton also shared that he did not expect Kim to keep his word and would watch how all unfolded. This tiny window of doubt did not stop Trump or Bolton from self-congratulatory celebrations of a job well done.

In addition to the self-pats on the back and talk from Republicans and the Trump base that he should get the Nobel Peace Prize, Trump gave kudos to Kim Jong-un saying he was “very open and honorable, and straightforward so far.”

Then there was more flattery and celebration when North Korea released three American hostages on May 10. When the three men arrived safely back home and exited the plane to greet Trump and reporters, Trump publicly thanked the dictator and told the press that greeted them on the tarmac that Kim was “excellent” to the hostages.

Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny asked the president about the upcoming summit and North Korea’s commitment to the meeting. Trump said he believed Kim Jong-un was serious because “he wants to enter into the real world.” Now it seems that Trump may have misread Kim.

Our move?

The White House needs a new plan especially since we now know the reason for the possible cancelation is because Trump is pushing for North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons program, something the North Koreans will never agree to or do. The North Koreans have expressed they are not interested in "unilateral" denuclearization, according to Korea's Central News Agency. This leavesTrump in a bit of a quandary--an embarrassing one.

It is expected that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will take the lead on this and try to re-broker the deal to meet. In the meantime, the White House is still planning to attend the summit which is less than four weeks away. However, that meeting will not happen if the US is expecting Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear program.