Moment Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump share historic handshake

Blanche Robertson
June 14, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will start denuclearizing "immediately", President Trump Donald said in his first sit-down interview following their historic summit in Singapore.

Everyone had been wondering how much of his nuclear programme he'd be willing to put on the table to get that.

Thornberry said Wednesday he supports Trump's decision to suspend the exercises as long as negotiations with Pyongyang are productive.

However this stock phrase, favored by Pyongyang, stopped short of longstanding United States demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way. President (Barack) Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most unsafe problem.

"We will never go back to the past again and never give up on this bold journey". It's unclear whether the president informed USA allies in the region of his plan to end the "war games", as he called them, prior to his declaration.

"We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith - which both sides are!" he wrote online.

The Kremlin welcomed the summit as the start of direct dialogue and said such meetings "help reduce tensions on the peninsula". The official said at some point that sentiment was conveyed to the Pentagon. A year ago it tested long-range missiles that could reach the USA 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.

Wednesday morning, Trump defended the concession on Twitter.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, and top commanders are trying to fashion detailed directives to the military on what exact exercises and drills will be suspended, several United States officials told CNN.

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To some commentators, Trump's choice of language was a major problem.

Critics said the unprecedented encounter between Kim and Trump was more style than substance, producing a document short on specifics about the key issue of Pyongyang's atomic weapons.

Officials continue to reiterate that all exercises are defensive in nature, even as Trump called them "provocative" - a word out of the North Korean playbook.

Chinese state media described the summit as a "starting point" but said "no-one would expect the half-day summit to be able to iron out all differences and remove deep-seated mistrust between the two long-time foes".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the Trump administration will seek "major, major disarmament" steps from North Korea over the next two years, The Associated Press reported.

But I hope it goes way beyond that.

The Defense Department chief spokesperson told reporters Tuesday that Mattis "was not surprised. History is a record of people who take action and rise to a challenge", he said. "He was unambiguous about that". "The summit showed Kim as a shrewd negotiator on the world stage". But he added that "regular readiness training" would continue. The next military exercise is scheduled for August.

As the dust settled, it appeared increasingly unlikely that US troops would be able to proceed with the annual Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a largely computer-simulated but large-scale exercise in South Korea that last took place in August 2017 and involved 17,500 USA forces joining South Korean troops.

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