Trump says NKorea no longer a nuclear threat

14-Jun-2018 Intellasia | | 7:33 AM Print This Post

On arriving back in US, president tweets: ‘Everybody can now feel much safer’

Donald Trump said that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat, as he arrived back in the US after his historic summit with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

“There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” Trump tweeted after Air Force One touched down at Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday, adding: “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Pyongyang said Trump would ease sanctions on North Korea, in language that suggested a different interpretation to how the US president described the historic summit between the two leaders.



KCNA, North Korea’s state media agency, said Trump had agreed to “lift sanctions along with advance in improving the mutual relationship through dialogue and negotiation”. In his press conference on Tuesday, however, Trump said the sanctions would remain until “we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor”.

The US has stressed that they would remain until North Korea undertook “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation”. But Trump drew fire on Tuesday when his joint statement with Kim included no mention of CVID.

Underscoring how North Korea is selling the summit as the dawn of a new era, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, another state-run media outlet, ran the front-page headline, “Meeting of the Century Pioneers a New History in DPRK  US Relations”, over photos of the meeting.

In another sign that Washington and Pyongyang were further apart than Trump had suggested, KCNA said the two leaders had agreed to a step-by-step process.

“Kim Jong Un and Trump had the shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” it said.

While that approach has been endorsed by China, the US has said it was unacceptable since it would allow North Korea to drag out negotiations and increase the odds that Pyongyang would repeat history by reneging on any deal.

KCNA also emphasized Trump’s announcement that he would halt joint military exercises with South Korea that the US president said were a “provocation”, as he offered a big concession that was criticised at home.

That move also sparked concern in Tokyo, where Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe had feared that Trump would be outplayed by Kim because of his desire to secure a deal before US midterm elections in November.

Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defence minister, on Wednesday said US-South Korean military exercises “play an important role” in guaranteeing security.

“We’d like a shared understanding between the US, Japan and South Korea on this,” said Onodera about the development, which surprised Seoul and Tokyo.

Onodera said Japan would not ease its pressure on Pyongyang until North Korea made concrete moves towards denuclearisation. “The final objective here is to solve the nuclear, missile and abduction problems,” he said. “We want to see visible changes.”

“The World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe!” Trump tweeted, accusing critics of being hypocritical by attacking him for his tough rhetoric on Kim last year while now questioning the wisdom of the summit.

“A year ago the pundits & talking heads were begging for conciliation and peace  ‘please meet, don’t go to war’. Now the same haters shout out, ‘You shouldn’t meet, do not meet!’”

While the US has couched the summit as a step towards forcing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons  and thereby cut the chances of a military strike  KCNA said North Korea appeared to put the onus on Washington.

“Kim Jong Un clarified the stand that if the US side takes genuine measures for building trust in order to improve the DPRK-US relationship, the DPRK, too, can continue to take additional goodwill measures of next stage commensurate with them,” it said, using the initials of country’s official name the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

KCNA also said the two leaders had invited each other to their respective capitals and that both of them “gladly accepted” the invitations.

Despite much fanfare, Tuesday’s joint statement has been criticised by western and South Korean analysts for being too vague.

While Trump said he believed Kim had made the strategic decision to abandon his nuclear weapons, sceptics said North Korea’s diplomatic outreach was aimed at obtaining relief from international sanctions that are squeezing the nation.

Shin Beom-chul, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a think-tank, said Trump appeared to have accepted North Korea’s demand for “phased” denuclearisation in an effort to secure a quick deal.

“Trump must have demanded quick denuclearisation measures from North Korea as he has to show some progress before the midterm election,” he said.

“But North Korea could be lazy in implementing any agreement once some of the sanctions are lifted and Trump’s political power gets weaker after next year.”


Category: Korea

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