Trump's claim North Korea no longer a nuclear threat raises eyebrows

Blanche Robertson
June 14, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) sign documents as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong (L), in Singapore, June 12, 2018.

On Wednesday, a lawmaker in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Kim made no reference to North Korea's long-held position on the issue of its past abductions of Japanese citizens during his summit with President Trump.

North Korean state press played up its triumphant takeaways from the summit, including what it said was an agreement to gradually ease economic sanctions on Pyongyang and for both sides to simultaneously take steps to denuclearize the peninsula.

Several U.S. lawmakers expressed their approval of Trump's meeting with Kim, but said they were skeptical of the U.S. leader's declaration that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.

After seeing a clip of the rant, Mr Trump tweeted: "I watched him last night, and truly believe he may be punch-drunk". Moscow and Beijing have long pushed a plan known as "freeze-for-freeze", referring to a halt to US military maneuvers alongside a freeze in North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

Joel Wit, a Stimson Center senior fellow and North Korea expert, told NPR that in such a timeline "you could probably disarm key portions of the North Korea nuclear program". Ron Bonjean, also a Republican strategist, said voters were more likely to be influenced if there was serious and measurable progress closer to the election.

The argument also allows Trump's political allies and supporters in conservative media to claim ahead of the midterm elections that the President has engineered a triumph overseas that was beyond all his predecessors and has made America and the world much safer.

"It's weird but it might be that Kim Jong-un's interests and Donald Trump's interests align".

To China, the agreement sounded like one they had been pushing all along, a "suspension for suspension", where the U.S. stops military drills with South Korea in exchange for North Korea halting missile and nuclear tests.

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'There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.

Although a joint statement released after the summit did not specify a time frame to achieve denuclearization, Suga said, "The North Korean issues are not easy ones that could be settled in a summit". The summit, the first between a North Korean leader and a U.S. president, ended with the leaders signing a peace deal. First, we are already in Hour Twenty of Take-a-Palooza, and I can sense people heading for the exits.

North Korea could begin giving up its weapons today if it wanted to, but it instead has insisted on staging performances of denuclearization rather than on inviting global inspectors to verify its progress.

However, there was no mention of the previous USA aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" from Pyongyang.

"I am. confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification", Pompeo said, adding that further US talks with North Korea on how and when it will end its nuclear program will resume "sometime in the next week".

Former South Korean foreign minister Yoon Young Kwan said Mr Trump's negotiation appears "very different" from past talks between the two countries because it's the first time a sitting USA president has taken a primarily political approach to the issue. "President (Barack) Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most unsafe problem".

Yet even as USA and South Korean officials sought to parlay the momentum from the dramatic summit into more progress on the nuclear issue, there were persistent questions about whether Trump had given away too much in return for too little. The Korean Central News Agency welcomed that decision and use that very same word - provocative - to describe these exercises. But big, joint U.S.

But Trump's move had always been suggested by China, and Beijing was quick to applaud its announcement on Wednesday.

Japan has reacted to Trump's plan to cancel military exercises with South Korea with concern, saying the drills are vital for East Asian security.

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