Trump ‘can’t jump ahead’ in North Korea negotiations: Leon Panetta

13 June, 2018, 08:18 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Wikimedia Commons

"While very light on substance, the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore represents a positive step in de-escalating tensions between our countries, addressing the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons, and moving toward a more peaceful future", Sen.

Later in the day, Trump is reportedly set to give his first post-summit interview at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island to Fox News' Sean Hannity, a leading Trump booster, who is in Singapore covering the summit.

"We're prepared to start a new history, and we're ready to write a new chapter between our nations", the president said. Three planes took off in North Korea at about an hour's interval on Sunday - an IL-76, an Air China Boeing 747 and an ancient Ilyushin IL62 - leaving watchers in the dark about which one Kim was on.

Trump's announcement that the US would stop military exercises, his description of those drills as "provocative" and his suggestion that he wants to pull USA troops out at some point are "all things that Trump is putting on the table as concessions, all in exchange for some vague promises by the North Koreans", said Paul Haenle, a former China director at the White House National Security Council in the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations.

North Korea's state-run media is framing the agreements reached at the Singapore summit as a "step-by-step" process meant to bring USA rewards in exchange for gradual moves by Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program.

A favoured USA slogan in South Korea is "ready to fight tonight".

According to the joint statement, both sides also agreed to recover and return remains of soldiers who were killed or missing in action during the Korean War so they can be repatriated.

The exercises allow United States and South Korean forces to practice mobilizing soldiers in the event of conflict, and to run computer simulations to improve coordination between the two militaries. In turn, Washington committed to provide security guarantees for North Korea, though the joint statement was light on specifics.

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It's the summit itself that represents Trump's most significant victory, giving him a genuine achievement that none of his predecessors can lay claim to.

"However, it does not make sense that the U.S".

"In coordination with our (South Korean) partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense and/or Indo-Pacific Command", Colonel Chad Carroll, spokesperson for USFK, said in a statement.

"South Korea contributes [to the military exercises], but not 100 percent, which is a subject that we have to talk to them about", the president said. The South Korean military seemed similarly surprised.

"But again, as we learn from the past, North Korea will agree to take these steps, but you can't trust them ultimately to fulfill what they commit to", he said.

Only hours before the summit, Mattis told Pentagon reporters that, as far as he knew, the issue of United States troops in South Korea would not be part of any discussion in Singapore.

"The man is way out of his depth", he said of Trump.

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