I will halt North Korea military exercises: Trump

Vastavam web: U.S. President Donald Trump made a stunning concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday about halting military exercises, pulling a surprise at a summit that baffled allies, military officials and lawmakers from his own Republican Party. At a news conference after the historic meeting with Kim in Singapore, Trump announced he would halt what he called “very provocative” and expensive regular military exercises that the United States stages with South Korea.

Trump and Kim promised in a joint statement to work towards the “denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula, and the United States promised its Cold War foe security guarantees. But they offered few specifics.The summit, the first between a sitting U.S. 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.

Noting past North Korean promises to denuclearize, many analysts cast doubt on how effective Trump had been at obtaining Washington’s pre-summit goal of getting North Korea to undertake complete, verifiable and irreversible steps to scrap a nuclear arsenal that is advanced enough to threaten the United States. Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency reported that Trump offered to lift economic sanctions on North Korea.

Trump “expressed his intention to halt the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, which the DPRK side regards as provocation, over a period of good-will dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S., offer security guarantees to the DPRK and lift sanctions against it along with advance in improving the mutual relationship through dialogue and negotiation,” it said. While suggesting Pyongyang would take mutual goodwill measures, KCNA made no mention of abandoning the country’s nuclear programme.

Critics in the United States said Trump had given away too much at a meeting that provided international standing to Kim. The North Korean leader had been isolated, his country accused by rights groups of widespread human rights abuses and under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. “We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money, plus I think it’s very provocative,” Trump said.His announcement was a surprise even to President Moon Jae-in’s government in Seoul, which worked in recent months to help bring about the Trump-Kim summit.

There was some confusion over precisely what military cooperation with South Korea that Trump had promised to halt. U.S. Senator Cory Gardner told reporters that Vice President Mike Pence promised in a briefing for Republican senators that the Trump administration would “clarify what the president talked about” regarding joint military exercises. “VP was very clear: regular readiness training and training exchanges will continue war games will not,” Gardner later wrote on Twitter.

“I was shocked when he called the exercises ‘provocative,’ a very unlikely word to be used by a U.S. president,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Current and former U.S. defence officials expressed concern at the possibility the United States would unilaterally halt military exercises without an explicit concession from North Korea that lowers the threat from Pyongyang. The U.S.-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every year with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month.