North Korea is no longer a threat, Trump says
Japan, South Korea fret over U.S. troop support
President Donald Trump said “there is no longer a nuclear threat” from North Korea after arriving back in Washington from Singapore, where he met with Kim Jong Un for a historic summit.
Trump landed at Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday and fired off a series of tweets about the meeting.
“Everybody can now feel much safer,” he wrote. “Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer.”
Trump’s optimism comes amid skepticism from his critics on whether he gave away too much in return for too little by agreeing to share a stage with Kim, a human rights abuser whose regime has failed repeatedly to live up to diplomatic promises. Trump and Kim signed a joint statement in which North Korea pledged to denuclearize, but there were few specifics on how and when that would happen.
U.S. allies Japan and South Korea were concerned that Trump agreed to halt military exercises with South Korea, which North Korea has long claimed were invasion preparations. Japan and South Korea have large U.S. military presences in their countries.
“The U.S.-South Korea joint exercises and U.S. forces in South Korea play significant roles for the security in East Asia,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Wednesday.
Past American presidents refused face-to-face meetings with North Korea’s leadership over fears of legitimizing a totalitarian state that admitted to state-sponsored kidnapping and sent thousands of its citizens to labor camps.
“I did it because nuclear (security) is always No. 1 to me,” Trump said in Singapore Tuesday.
Wednesday in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea, newspapers ran photos of Trump and Kim standing side-by-side and touted an “epoch-making meeting much awaited by the whole world.”
President Donald Trump was exuberant after returning from his summit with Kim Jong Un.