SEOUL, June 13, 2018 (News Wires) - North Korean state media lauded on Wednesday the summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump as a resounding success, highlighting concessions by the US president and the prospect of a new era of peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula.
According to a report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Trump expressed his intention to halt US-South Korea joint military exercises, offer security guarantees to the North and lift sanctions against it as relations improve.
The US president had said in a news conference on Tuesday he would like to lift sanctions against North Korea, but it would not happen immediately.
Kim and Trump invited each other to their respective countries and both leaders “gladly accepted”, KCNA reported.
The summit, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, was in stark contrast to a flurry of North Korean nuclear and missile tests and angry exchanges of insults between Trump and Kim last year that fuelled worries about war.
“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,” KCNA said.
Trump confirmed the United States will not hold war games with South Korea while North Korea negotiates in good faith on denuclearisation.
“We’re not going to be doing the war games as long as we’re negotiating in good faith,” Trump told Fox News Channel in an interview in Singapore after the summit.
“So that’s good for a number of reasons, in addition to which we save a tremendous amount of money,” Trump said. “You know, those things, they cost. I hate to appear a businessman, but I kept saying, what’s it costing?”
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Trump’s cost reasoning for halting the exercises was “ridiculous”.
“It’s not a burden onto the American taxpayer to have a forward deployed force in South Korea,” Graham told CNN. “It brings stability. It’s a warning to China that you can’t just take over the whole region. So I reject that analysis that it costs too much, but I do accept the proposition, let’s stand down (on military exercises) and see if we can find a better way here.”
SINGAPORE, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged on Tuesday to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy.
But a joint statement signed at the end of their historic summit in Singapore gave few details on how either goal would be achieved.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” said the statement.
DPRK is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea.
Trump said he expected the denuclearisation process to start “very, very quickly”. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials would hold follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date”, the statement said.
Political analysts said the summit had yielded only symbolic results and nothing tangible.
“It is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearisation,” said Anthony Ruggiero, senior fellow of Washington’s Foundation for Defence of Democracies think tank. “This looks like a restatement of where we left negotiations more than 10 years ago and not a major step forward.”
The document also made no mention of the international sanctions that have crippled North Korea’s economy for pursuing its nuclear weapons programme.
Nor was there any reference to finally signing a peace treaty. North Korea and the United States were on opposite sides in the 1950-53 Korean War and are technically still at war, as the conflict, in which millions of people died, was concluded only with a truce.
But the joint statement did say the two sides had agreed to recovering the remains of prisoners of war and of those missing in action and repatriating them.
China, the third party to the truce, said it hoped North Korea and the United States could reach a basic consensus on denuclearisation.
“At the same time, there needs to be a peace mechanism for the peninsula to resolve North Korea’s reasonable security concerns,” China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told reporters in Beijing.
If the joint statement does lead to a lasting detente, it could fundamentally change the security landscape of Northeast Asia, just as former US President Richard Nixon visit to Beijing in 1972 led to the transformation of China.
But Li Nan, senior researcher at Pangoal, a Beijing-based Chinese public policy think tank, said the meeting had only symbolic significance.
“It is too early to call it a turning point in North Korea-US relations,” Li said.
However, the dollar jumped to a 3-week top on Tuesday and Asian shares rose on news of the agreement.
Before signing what Trump described as a “comprehensive” document, Kim said the two leaders had a historic meeting “and decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change.”
Trump said he had formed a “very special bond” with Kim and that relationship with North Korea would be very different.
“People are going to be very impressed and people are going to be very happy and we are going to take care of a very dangerous problem for the world,” Trump said.
Asked whether he would invite Kim to the White House, Trump said: “Absolutely, I will.”
He called Kim “very smart” and a “very worthy, very hard negotiator.”
“I learned he’s a very talented man. I also learned that he loves his country very much.”
During a post-lunch stroll through the gardens of the Singapore hotel where the summit was held, Trump said the meeting had gone “better than anybody could have expected”.
Kim stood silently alongside, but the North Korean leader had earlier described their summit as a “a good prelude to peace”.
Both men walked to Trump’s bullet-proof limousine, nicknamed “The Beast”, and looked in at the rear seat, with Trump apparently showing Kim something inside. They then resumed their walk.
They had appeared cautious and serious when they first arrived for the summit at the Capella hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa, a resort island with luxury hotels, a casino, manmade beaches and a Universal Studios theme park.
But, with cameras of the world’s press trained on them, they displayed an initial atmosphere of bonhomie as they met on the verandah of the Capella, a refurbished 19th century British regimental officers’ mess.
Body language expert said both men tried to project command as they met, but also displayed signs of nerves.
NEW YORK, May 2, 2018 (Reuters) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in a meeting with US President Donald Trump’s lawyers in March, raised the possibility of issuing a subpoena for Trump if he declines to talk to investigators in the Russia probe, a former lawyer for the president said.
John Dowd told Reuters that Mueller mentioned the possibility of a subpoena in the early March meeting. Mueller’s subpoena warning was first reported by the Washington Post, which cited four people familiar with the encounter.
“This isn’t some game. You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States,” Dowd said he told the investigators, who are probing possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Dowd left the president’s legal team about two weeks after the meeting.
The Post said Mueller had raised the possibility of a subpoena after Trump’s lawyers said the president had no obligation to talk with federal investigators involved in the probe.
After the March meeting, Mueller’s team agreed to provide the president’s lawyers with more specific information about the subjects they wished to ask Trump, the Post reported.
With that information, Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions the president’s legal team believed he would be asked, according to the Post.
That list, first reported by the New York Times on Monday, includes questions on Trump’s ties to Russia and others to determine whether the president may have unlawfully tried to obstruct the investigation.
“We do not discuss conversations we have had or may have had with the Office of Special Counsel,” Sekulow told Reuters on Tuesday evening.
Trump criticised the leak of the questions.
“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media. No questions on Collusion,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!”