Trump says summit removed North Korean nuclear threat; Democrats doubtful

SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat and his top diplomat offered a hopeful timeline for a ai???major disarmament,ai??? despite skepticism at home that Pyongyang will abandon its nuclear weapons following this weekai??i??s summit.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their historic meeting in Singapore on Tuesday that reaffirmed the Northai??i??s commitment to ai???work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsulaai??? and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.

Democratic critics in the United States said the agreement was short on detail and the Republican president had made too many concessions to Kim, whose country is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs and is widely condemned for human rights abuses.

Just over half of Americans say they approve of how Trump has handled North Korea, but only a quarter think the summit will lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday.

North Koreaai??i??s state media hailed the summit as a success, including highlighting Trumpai??i??s surprise announcement after the meeting that the United States would stop military exercises with South Korea, which the North has long sought.

Despite the lack of detail in the summit agreement, Trump stressed at a news conference afterward that he trusted Kim to follow through. He returned to Washington early on Wednesday and hailed the meeting, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, as a major win for American security.

ai???Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,ai??? Trump tweeted. ai???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!ai???

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is charged by Trump with leading follow-on negotiations, said the United States hopes to achieve ai???major disarmamentai??? by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years.

Democratic lawmakers pointed out that North Korea has often made similar statements in the past about ai???denuclearization,ai??? all the while developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could be capable of striking the United States.


ai???One trip and itai??i??s ai???mission accomplished,ai??? Mr. President? North Korea still has all its nuclear missiles, and we only got a vague promise of future denuclearization from a regime that canai??i??t be trusted,ai??? said Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

  • Ex-spy or genteel diplomat? North Korea’s choices for nuclear talks with Pompeo
  • North Korean state media hails Kim-Trump summit success
  • Kremlin says Trump-Kim summit proves Putin was right about North Korea

ai???North Korea is a real and present threat. So is a dangerously naive president,ai??? he wrote on Twitter.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, also a Democrat, said of Trumpai??i??s tweet about North Korea no longer presenting a threat: ai???This is truly

The summit statement provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up a nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified. Skeptics of how much the meeting achieved pointed to the North Korean leadershipai??i??s long-held view that nuclear weapons are a bulwark against what it fears are U.S. plans to overthrow it and unite the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking to reporters on a trip to Seoul, where he went to brief South Korean officials, Pompeo was asked if he would like to accomplish major nuclear disarmament within Trumpai??i??s current term, which ends in January, 2021. He replied:

ai???Oh yes, most definitively. Absolutely … you used the term major, major disarmament, something like that? Weai??i??re hopeful that we can achieve that in the 2-1/2

The United States has long insisted on complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization by North Korea, but in the summit statement, North Korea committed only to the ai???complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,ai??? phrasing it has used in the past.

North Korea has often rejected unilateral nuclear disarmament, instead referring to the denuclearization of the peninsula. That has always been interpreted in part as a call for the United States to remove its ai???nuclear umbrellaai??? protecting South Korea and Japan.

Pompeo bristled at a question about why the words ai???verifiableai??? and ai???irreversibleai??? were not in the summit joint statement, in the context of denuclearization.

ai???Itai??i??s in the statement. Youai??i??re just wrong about that… Because complete encompasses verifiable and irreversible. I suppose you could argue semantics, but let me assure you that itai??i??s in the document,ai??? Pompeo said.

North Koreans watch the displayed local newspapers reporting the summit between the U.S. and North Korea at a subway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 13, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Pressed on how the agreement would be verified, he said:

ai???Of course it will…I find that question insulting and ridiculous and frankly

ai???SAVE A FORTUNEai??i??

Despite Trumpai??i??s assertion about the North Korean nuclear threat being over, a senior U.S. official responsible for studying the North Korean military said the U.S. intelligence assessment of the nuclear and other military threat posed by North Korea to U.S. and allied forces and bases in Asia and the northwest Pacific remains unchanged.

Such assessments are changed only on the basis of visible or other changes in a nationai??i??s military state, such as the movement or elimination of weapons or troops, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In a post-summit announcement that appeared unexpected even to South Koreaai??i??s President Moon Jae-in, Trump said on Tuesday the United States would stop military exercises with South Korea while North Korea negotiated on denuclearization.

ai???We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!ai??? he later Tegretol eating disorders wrote on Twitter.

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called the cost reasoning ai???ridiculous,ai??? telling CNN, ai???Itai??i??s not a burden onto the American taxpayer to have a forward deployed force in South

ai???It brings stability. Itai??i??s a warning to China that you canai??i??t just take over the whole region. So I reject that analysis that it costs too much, but I do accept the proposition, letai??i??s stand down (on military exercises) and see if we can find a better way

The United States maintains about 28,500 soldiers in South Korea, which remains in a technical state of war with the North after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

There was some confusion over precisely what military exercises Trump had promised to halt.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The U.S.-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every year with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month. Another major exercise is due in August. quibron-t purchase

Reporting by David Brunnstrom in Seoul; Additional reporting by John Walcott, Susan Heavey and Mary Milliken in Washington and Chris Kahn in New York; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Frances Kerry