Wednesday, 20 June, 2018


Trump's Freeze of Korea Joint Exercises Catches Allies by Surprise

The front page of a state-run North Korean newspaper is on display for commuters at a Pyongyang subway station MINORU IWASAKI AP The front page of a state-run North Korean newspaper is on display for commuters at a Pyongyang subway station
Conrad Doyle | 13 June, 2018, 22:55

US President Donald Trump says he has now agreed with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to cancel them.

Even as Pompeo staunchly defended the summit results, he was less exuberant than Trump, who tweeted on his return to the US on Monday morning: "Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office".

Trump was also criticized for giving too many concessions to North Korea, including failing to acknowledge the human rights crimes alleged against Kim, and pledging to end the "war games", or the joint military exercises conducted with a long-standing ally of the United States, South Korea.

At the U.S. -North Korea summit in Singapore on Tuesday President Trump called the North Korean leader a "terrific person" and "a great leader", and that he cares greatly about the welfare of his people.

Greg Scarlatoiu, with the USA -based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea said he was disappointed that human rights was not discussed in any substantial way, but noted that the summit is the beginning of a longer diplomatic process.

"Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea", Trump added. In 1994, Kim Jong Il said North Korea would halt plutonium production, but the country was later discovered to have been enriching uranium from then until 2002. "No longer - sleep well tonight!" the President wrote.

The administration's argument is that the incremental approach used by past administrations has allowed North Korea to extract rewards and incentives from the US, only to ultimately renege and refuse to give up its nukes.

The news on television and the front page of the ruling Workers' Party newspaper was something North Koreans never would have imagined just months ago - their leader Kim Jong Un warmly shaking hands with President Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump said the US will be continuing sanctions until denuclearization occurs - but suggested sanctions might be lifted earlier than many experts thought possible.

China has repeatedly called for a "freeze-for-freeze" or "dual suspension" initiative, in North Korea suspends its nuclear program in exchange for the US and South Korea to suspend their joint military exercises in the region.

The second reference stated: "Kim Jong-un said in order to achieve peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and realise its denuclearisation, the two countries should commit themselves to refraining from antagonising with each other out of mutual understanding, and take legal and institutional steps to guarantee it". Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said, adding that the Trump-Kim agreement is nothing more than a "few sentences on a sheet of paper" that were "very aspirational". Even in cases where the USA president has studied his briefing materials, unlike Trump, having others present can prevent a situation where the two nations disagree about what promises were made.

Both sides promised to push the process forward quickly, and Trump and Kim exchanged invitations to each other to visit their nations' capitals. Already, North Korea has criticized the United States and South Korea's military drills, saying they're not helpful for peace talks.

Pompeo arrived in Seoul on Wednesday evening and will meet Thursday with senior South Korean and Japanese leaders to brief them on the June 12 summit before continuing on to Beijing.

"In coordination with our ROK [South Korean] partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense and/or Indo-Pacific Command", the U.S. Forces-Korea statement said.

Xi met twice with Kim before Singapore and retains a strong influence on the situation - China even lent Kim a plane to get to the summit.

"Without Otto this would not have happened", Trump told a post-summit news conference in Singapore. -South Korean drill that is due in August, Reuters reported. The next scheduled major exercise, involving tens of thousands of troops, normally is held in August.

In a series of tweets, Trump sought to take political credit for the summit but risked undermining the U.S. strategy in the region.

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