North Korea is no longer a threat: Trump
WASHINGTON • America and the world can “sleep well tonight,” President Donald Trump declared on Wednesday, boasting that his summit with Kim Jong Un had ended any nuclear threat from North Korea though the meeting produced no details on how or when weapons might be eliminated or even reduced.
While Trump claimed a historic breakthrough, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more measured. He said the U.S. wants North Korea to take “major” nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years — before the end of Trump’s first term in 2021.
Pompeo also cautioned that the U.S. would resume “war games” with close ally South Korea if the North stops negotiating in good faith.
The president had announced a halt in the drills after his meeting with Kim on Tuesday, a concession long sought by Pyongyang.
Despite the uncertainties, Trump talked up the outcome of what was the first meeting between a U.S. and North Korean leader in six decades of hostility. The Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.
“Just landed — a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!”
Pompeo, who flew to Seoul to brief South Korean leaders, said the brief, fourpoint joint statement that emerged from the summit did not encapsulate all the progress the U.S. and North Korea had made. He said negotiations would recommence “in the next week or so.”
He bristled at questions from reporters about the vague wording of the statement where North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” — a promise it has made several times before in the past 25 years and reneged on. Pompeo said Kim understands that “there will be in-depth verification” in any deal with the U.S.
“We have big teams ready to go,” including experts from the U.S. and other partners around the world, Pompeo said.
Independent experts say the North could have enough fissile material for between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs.
Last year it tested longrange missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland, although it remains unclear if it has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead that could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target.