North Korea sanctions remain until complete denuclearisation, says US

Brenda Watkins
June 14, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, centre, and Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono attend a joint news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.

Washington's top diplomat was in Seoul to brief his South Korean and Japanese counterparts after President Donald Trump's post-summit comments sparked confusion and concern in Tokyo and Seoul.

North Korean state television has aired its first video from Tuesday's unprecedented summit between the regime's leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The North Korean state TV broadcast also showed Trump and Kim after the meeting, signing their joint agreement in which North Korea pledged to take steps to denuclearize, while the United States vowed to end military exercises in South Korea.

A spokeswoman for United States military forces in Korea said it had not received any direction to cease joint military drills.

"I think we have a very good relationship".

At his news conference, President Trump said it was hard to ensure anything but that he trusted his instinct that Mr Kim would abide by his word. North Korea's Kim Jong-un left Singapore at around 11:20 PM yesterday, . and he is expected to have arrived in North Korea this morning.

There was considerable surprise across the region when Trump revealed, in a press conference, that he had agreed with Kim to end annual military exercises jointly conducted by South Korea and the USA, which the USA president characterized as "expensive" and "provocative".

Despite the uncertainties, Trump talked up the outcome of what was the first meeting between a US and North Korean leader in six decades of hostility.

"It is something that (North Korea) very much appreciated". He also welcomed the diplomatic progress made at the summit, but sought clarification at the trilateral meeting that North Korea's short-range ballistic missile arsenal that could target the mainland of Japan and its chemical weapons capability would also eliminated as part of the denuclearization deal.

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Speaking at the press conference, Foreign Minister Kang said the South Korea-US alliance is "as robust as ever" and Seoul expects "no daylight" in cooperative moves. " That work, he said, was "beyond what was seen in the final document that will be in the place that we will begin when we return to our conversations".

Democratic critics in the United States said the agreement was short on detail and the Republican president had made too many concessions to Kim, whose country is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs and is widely condemned for human rights abuses. Today, the Kremlin publicly congratulated itself for supporting the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore, Reuters reported.

China, Germany and the United States must all acknowledge that, even if Kim is a dictator, the 35-year-old is not insane.

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In the run-up to the summit, the North's media softened its rhetoric so as not to spoil the atmosphere as Kim prepared to sit down with the leader of the country North Korea has maligned and lambasted for decades as the most evil place on Earth, other than perhaps Japan, its former colonial ruler.

So if North Korea doesn't come through with its denuclearization pledges, if it makes extreme counterdemands of the U.S., if it is caught in a lie while claiming to denuclearize, Trump's vouching for Kim will come under especially heavy scrutiny.

The US stations 28,500 troops in South Korea to help protect it from its northern neighbor, which invaded in 1950 to try to reunify the peninsula by force.

He is known to have stopped over at airbases in Guam and Hawaii to encourage USA forces and is expected to arrive at the White House sometime Wednesday morning. Both Moon and Xi have advocated a phased approach to negotiations and moved to quickly fix ties with Pyongyang, while Japan wants the US-led "maximum pressure" campaign to continue. The annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercise is scheduled for August.

Asked about his having suggested Russian Federation be let back into the G7, Trump said of that meeting, "We spent about 25% of our time talking about Russian Federation". He said he planned to continue sharing the view with Washington and Seoul.

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