North Korea is no longer a threat, Trump says

Ja­pan, South Korea fret over U.S. troop sup­port

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Kim Hjelm­gaard

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.”

AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was ex­u­ber­ant after re­turn­ing from his sum­mit with Kim Jong Un.

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