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Donald Trump says North Korea 'no longer' a nuclear threat

13 June 2018

President Donald Trump made history Tuesday in Singapore as the first American president to meet face-to-face with a leader of North Korea since the Kim dynasty sprouted on the peninsula roughly seven decades ago.

After arriving back in the United States, the president also tweeted that "everybody can now feel much safer".

People look at the display of local newspaper reporting the meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, at a subway station in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

After decades of isolation over its nuclear and missile programmes, the regime - decried for human rights abuses at home and its destabilising threats of war - received a warm embrace from the U.S. president, who welcomed an agreement on the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula, even as critics suggested the document was short on details.

The Singapore agreement does not detail plans for North Korea to demolish a missile engine testing site, a concession Trump said he'd won, or Trump's promise to end military exercises in the South while negotiations between the USA and the North continue.

Trump's announcement also appeared to surprise both the USA and South Korean militaries, who said they hadn't received any instruction to cease the joint military drills, including the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises scheduled to take place this fall. "President (Barack) Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most risky problem".

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North Korea has resisted talks over the years because they disagreed with the U.S.'s preconditions - mainly, a clear commitment to an inspection-and-verification regime. Meanwhile, the world awaits the concrete outcomes of the detailed US-North Korea negotiations that will decide whether Trump's optimism was simply borne out of naiveté.

Kim's vows to denuclearize were reported by state media Wednesday within that context - that Pyongyang would respond to easing of what it sees as the hostile us policy with commensurate but gradual moves toward "the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

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.

"We're hopeful that we can achieve that in, what was it, the next two and half years", Pompeo said Wednesday. But at his post-summit news conference, the USA president described them as "very provocative".

In the United States, supporters of President Trump welcomed the outcomes of the summit as a historic breakthrough.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise described positive steps from the meeting, such as Kim saying he's willing to take steps toward denuclearization. South Korea was largely responsible for convincing Pyongyang and Washington to come to the negotiating table.

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Japan's Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday that joint military exercises were "vital" for East Asian security and hence should not be suspended.

U.S. military commanders in the South also said they had no warning of Mr Trump's announcement. But simultaneously, Seoul is aiming to prepare its defenses in case the US decides to halt joint military exercises indefinitely or pull out the around 28,000 troops it has stationed inside South Korea's borders.

It's reflective of a broader theme on the KOSPI index, with other South Korean construction companies (such as Hyundai Cement, up more than 300%) also posting strong gains in recent months. The next scheduled major exercise, involving tens of thousands of troops, normally is held in August. He said he planned to continue sharing the view with Washington and Seoul.

After a day filled with smiles and handshakes watched around the world, the USA "committed to provide security guarantees" to North Korea.

"You can't ensure anything", Trump said in a press conference on Tuesday after the summit.

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Donald Trump says North Korea 'no longer' a nuclear threat