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'No longer a nuclear threat' from North Korea, Trump says

photo.caption|escapejs

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that there was "no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

But his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, cautioned that the U.S. would resume "war games" with close ally South Korea if the North stops negotiating in good faith. The president had announced a halt in the drills after his meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

The summit in Singapore yielded a joint statement that contained a promise to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, but it lacked details. It was the first meeting between a U.S. and North Korean leader in six decades of hostility. The Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty, leaving the two sides in a technical state of war.

"Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office," Trump tweeted early Wednesday. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"

Pompeo, who flew to Seoul to brief South Korean leaders on the summit, said the U.S. wants North Korea to take "major" nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years — before the end of Trump's first term in 2021. He said the North Korean leader understands that "there will be in-depth verification" of nuclear commitments in any deal with the U.S.

While Trump was facing questions at home and among allies about whether he gave away too much in return for too little at the summit, North Korean state media heralded claims of a victorious meeting with the U.S. president; photos of Kim standing side-by-side with Trump on the world stage were splashed across newspapers.

Independent experts say the North could have enough fissile material for anywhere between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs. Last year, it tested long-range missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland, although it remains unclear if it has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead that could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target.

"Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea," Trump tweeted. "President [Barack] Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer - sleep well tonight!"

Christopher Hill, chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea in the George W. Bush administration, suggested in an interview that it's "a little premature" for Trump to say Kim is someone the U.S. can trust.

"Kim Jong Un has proved to be a pretty ruthless leader in North Korea, and I'm not sure this sort of speed dating of a 45-minute one-on-one meeting ... would suggest that there's nothing to be concerned about," he said.

When asked whether Trump was jumping the gun by declaring victory, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters: "This president wants North Korea to completely denuclearize so obviously that has to be complete, verifiable and irreversible."

Freezing the regular military exercises with South Korea is a major concession to North Korea that has long claimed the drills were invasion preparations. It appeared to catch the Pentagon and officials in Seoul off guard, and some South Koreans were alarmed. Trump cast the decision as a cost-saving measure but also called the exercises "inappropriate" while talks continue.

Pompeo said he was there when Trump talked about it with Kim, and the president "made very clear" that the condition for the freeze was that good-faith talks be ongoing. He told reporters that if the U.S. concludes they no longer are, the freeze "will no longer be in effect."

"He was unambiguous about that and how he communicated it, both at the press conference but certainly when he was with Chairman Kim as well," Pompeo said.

In North Korea on Wednesday, Pyongyang's first reports on the summit stressed to the nation's people that Trump had agreed at Kim's demand to halt the military exercises and suggested that Trump also said he would lift sanctions as negations progressed.

"President Trump appreciated that an atmosphere of peace and stability was created on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, although distressed with the extreme danger of armed clash only a few months ago, thanks to the proactive peace-loving measures taken by the respected Supreme Leader from the outset of this year," the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a summary of the meeting.

Pompeo, after landing in South Korea, met for nearly an hour with Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea. The secretary of state is to meet President Moon Jae-in on Thursday morning to discuss the summit. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is also heading to Seoul and is due to meet with Pompeo and his South Korean counterpart. Pompeo, the former CIA director, then plans to fly to Beijing to update the Chinese government on the talks.

In Japan, the prospect of canceled U.S.-South Korean drills was met with concern.

"The U.S.-South Korea joint exercises and U.S. forces in South Korea play significant roles for the security in East Asia," Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday. He said he planned to continue sharing the view with Washington and Seoul.

The U.S. has stationed combat troops in South Korea since the end of the Korean War and has used them in a variety of drills. The next scheduled major exercise, involving tens of thousands of troops, normally would be held in August.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Comments

RBear says...

The real question will be verification. If we cannot verify denuclearization or disarmament, then these are just words on paper. We've been down this road many times before with NK and something pulled them back from the table.

Posted 13 June 2018, 11:28 a.m. Suggest removal

condoleezza says...

Gotta love a guy who alienates and insults our friends, and then sucks up to dictators like he on a first date with a hooker.

Posted 13 June 2018, 12:01 p.m. Suggest removal

mrcharles says...

And Saudi Arabi just made Southern Baptist the official religion of their country.

KKK, just elected Al Sharpton grand dragon.

Jason rapter man has converted to follow the monkey god.

And Un is now the undictator, unnut,unmadman, unkiller, unnontrustworthy, and trump has S Korea and the military saying WTF!!

Posted 13 June 2018, 1:27 p.m. Suggest removal

BoudinMan says...

How pitiful. Idiot trump makes nice with a murderous thug of a dictator, but declares that the press is the enemy of the people. Does this fool have an intelligent thought in his head. Vote blue 11.6.18. It's the only way out of the darkness.

Posted 13 June 2018, 4:17 p.m. Suggest removal

LRCrookAttorney says...

Vote Neither blue nor red in November 2018. They are both corrupt idiots and will just lie to us about what they "will" do when elected.

Posted 13 June 2018, 5:52 p.m. Suggest removal

Shearload says...

No justification for UN sanctions now, I suppose. Russia has already stated that the NK sanctions should be lifted, and Trump never disagrees with Russia. China will open its bridge to NK any day now. NK won.

Posted 13 June 2018, 6:23 p.m. Suggest removal

Delta123 says...

TDS

Posted 13 June 2018, 7:33 p.m. Suggest removal

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