Pompeo: No North Korea sanctions relief until complete denuclearization

Casey Dawson
June 15, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Thursday pushed back against a North Korean state media report that U.S. President Donald Trump agreed during this week's Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un to gradually lift sanctions against Pyongyang, saying Trump had been very clear about the sequence of steps in the process.

But in an extraordinary media conference later, Mr Trump announced details not in the document.

Following the summit, Trump said the United States would halt its "provocative" joint military drills with South Korea as long as negotiations are ongoing with the North, an announcement that caught Seoul by surprise.

Suga, Japan's top government spokesman, welcomed the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula because of the Trump-Kim summit.

Earlier, Wang praised the summit between Mr. Trump and Kim as putting the world "on the right path" and eventually bringing "enduring, genuine peace to the region".

But he also said he would love to bring the United States military out of South Korea because of the cost, adding that while it was not now part of the discussion, "at the appropriate time, it will be".

"The issue of South Korea-U.S. joint exercises is one that should be discussed", Kang said. The drills help keep USA forces at a state of readiness in one of the world's most tense flashpoints.

"Ending "war games" does not preclude normal peacetime training and is a decision easily reversed should Kim falter from this declaration of intent to pursue disarmament", he told The Times.

The joint statement released Tuesday was scant on the details, leaving the agreement between Trump and Kim vague.

Pentagon officials were not immediately able to provide any details about Mr Trump's remarks on suspending drills, something that the U.S. military has long resisted.

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"The joint military drills between the US and South Korea are a matter based on the alliance between the two countries, and are an issue to be decided between the military authorities after consultations".

The 42-minute-long program, narrated by North Korea's most famous newscaster, Ri Chun-hee, was broadcast on state-run television Thursday, two days after the historic summit in Singapore and a full day after Kim returned home to his country's capital, Pyongyang.

The likelihood of Kim Jong Un launching a first strike against the USA, thereby bringing on "fire and fury", was low.

The agreement signed by Trump and Kim on Tuesday said the U.S. would provide security guarantees to North Korea, while Pyongyang committed to denuclearisation.

On nuclear weapons, Mr Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". The video included the lengthy handshake between the two leaders, which took place before their one-on-one meeting at the luxury Capella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Island.

Observers say the document lacks substance, in particular on how denuclearisation would be achieved. We should feel thankful towards South Koreans in general and also especially moon Jae-in for his consistent wise and skilled diplomacy.

Wang said China has stayed in communication on the "so-called sonic attack" adding that China will "continue to protect the lawful right and interests of all diplomats in China, including those from U.S.". Their visit passes were cancelled and they were repatriated to South Korea, the police said on Wednesday night (June 13) in response to queries from The Straits Times. And they probably believe, correctly, that this was a good thing.

"But I mean, he's still done some really bad things", Baier protested. He's in the midst of trying to put together a denuclearization deal which is an important and worthy goal, so he obviously can't be singing "Rocket Man" on Fox News or things would fall apart very quickly.

'So he's a very smart guy, he's a great negotiator and I think we understand each other'.

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