South Korea seeks clarity from United States after Trump-Kim summit

Clay Curtis
June 13, 2018

Limbaugh said in the lead-up to the summit, there were recurring themes coming from the media: "Trump's incompetent, Trump's gonna get snookered, Trump is unsafe, Trump doesn't know what he's doing, this could be the worst disaster in American history".

It's an appalling reality, but that's the world we live in so I suppose we need to show gratitude when two leaders are willing to agree not to annihilate each other's populations #ThankyouforNotNukingUs. Trump said: "That's true". "I know a lot about airplanes; it's very expensive". "It was a bad thing, it was brutal, but a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea".

Conservative House Republicans were unrepentant in their praise for the president for engaging with North Korea, a sharp reversal from many of their views on similar negotiations between President Barack Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran. "No longer - sleep well tonight!" the President wrote. "Many people in the world will think of this as a scene from a fiction movie", Kim Jong-un was heard telling Donald Trump.

In Pyongyang, the North Korean autocrat woke up to state media's enthusiastic claims of a victorious meeting with the US president; photos of him standing side-by-side with Trump on the world stage were splashed across newspapers.

On the other hand, Russian Federation and China, who joined North Korea in criticizing the joint military drills in the past, welcomed Trump's decision.

Geng Shuang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday: "North Korea has stopped its nuclear tests, and the US and South Korea are practising self-constraint on their military exercises". The face to face was unthinkable just months earlier as the two leaders traded insults and nuclear threats. The document signed by the leaders at their historic summit Tuesday also says they will join efforts "to build a lasting and stable peace regime" on 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. That concession to Kim appeared to catch the Pentagon and officials in Seoul off guard, and some South Koreans were alarmed.

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Kim said he thought the U.S. president was blinded by his desire to land a historic deal with the Pyongyang regime, but came away empty-handed. "By the way, Korean stuffed cucumber is stuffed with Koreans - Kim is a monster".

"For North Korea's leaders, it's very important to have nuclear weapons to protect themselves", he explains.

Washington has described the drills as defensive in nature, but Pyongyang says they are a rehearsal for invasion and has long called for them to end.

The president's suspension of the exercises came as U.S. Forces-Korea, led by Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, is preparing for the annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises later this summer with the South Koreans. The next scheduled major exercise, involving tens of thousands of troops, normally is held in August.

While Pyongyang says it has intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the United States mainland, Guam is in reach of medium-to-long-range rockets. Pompeo is also due to meet the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers.

Pompeo was scheduled to travel next to Beijing before returning to Washington.

Despite the confusion and disappointment among some, the summit managed to, for a time at least, reset a relationship that has always been characterized by bloodshed and threats.

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