Pompeo: U.S. aims for 'major' North Korea disarmament in 2.5 years

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2018

Tweeting from the presidential plane, which just landed in Hawaii to refuel on the trip back from Singapore, Trump wrote, "There is no limit to what NoKo can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce & engagement w/ the world".

North Korea, Trump said, has agreed to destroy a major missile engine testing site. The US had sided with South Korea in the conflict.

Trump's rush to claim credit for the supposed disappearance of the North Korean nuclear threat may also give nations like China and Russian Federation an incentive to ease stringent implementation of the "maximum pressure" sanctions that helped bring Pyongyang to the table. Now that Kim has a hydrogen bomb and missiles that can deliver it to the United States, he says he doesn't need to test them anymore and can dedicate more of his resources toward the economy.

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On the issue the world has been most fixated on - North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear arsenal meant to target the entire US mainland - Trump and Kim signed a joint statement that contained a repeat of past vows to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners are held in North Korean prisons, according to a United Nations commission of inquiry, which found that the regime's crimes included "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation".

That doesn't seem to pin the North down to the concrete and unilateral measures Trump said he would demand going into the talks. "No longer - sleep well tonight!" the President wrote.

Trump's chest-thumping tweets seemed reminiscent of the "Mission Accomplished" banner flown behind President George W. Bush in 2003 when he spoke aboard a Navy ship following the US invasion of Iraq. The words came back to haunt the administration, as the war dragged on throughout Bush's presidency. "That will take a while".

Kim visited China's Xi Jinping twice before meeting Trump - once in March and another time in May. In fact, the Chinese foreign ministry hinted before Trump's press conference that it knew about the president's decision in advance.

The U.S., which now has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, has maintained a combat force on the peninsula since the end of the 1950-53 war and has used them in a variety of large-scale drills created to sharpen skills and test troops' ability to operate effectively with their South Korean partners.

The summit's joint declaration said that Pompeo and North Korean officials would hold further talks "at the earliest possible date".

Donald Trump
Mr Trump’s upbeat assessment was tempered by Mike Pompeo’s comments

The Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, said it was hard to assess what had happened at the summit. "Plus, I think it's very provocative". Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Seoul on Wednesday for follow-up meetings.

President Moon Jae-in is expected to be briefed personally by the U.S. secretary of state, who landed at Osan Air Base. Mr Pompeo, the former Central Intelligence Agency director, then plans to fly to Beijing to update the Chinese government on the talks. Bloomberg hosted a live chat about the Trump-Kim summit on the LINE messaging app, where people tuned in to have their questions answers by editors.

Greg Scarlatoiu, with the USA -based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea said he was disappointed that human rights was not discussed in any substantial way, but noted that the summit is the beginning of a longer diplomatic process. But he noted that the "war games" with South Korea that Trump said he will end, will continue if the North Korean leader doesn't follow through on his commitments.

Critics at home said the joint statement by the two leaders was short on detail and that Trump had made too many concessions to Kim.

But some argue North Korea didn't go any further than previous promises. The next military exercise is scheduled for August.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that it was consulting with the White House and others, but was silent on whether the August exercise would proceed.

"We're signing a very important document, a pretty comprehensive document", Trump told the waiting reporters.

That's his essence. He has decided he trusts the butcher of Pyongyang who had his own brother and half-brother assassinated, has killed top aides for looking the wrong way, has 120,000 fellow Koreans in the political prisons where many starve to death and on and on in the Kim-dynasty atrocities department.

While Pyongyang says it has intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the USA mainland, Guam is in reach of medium-to-long-range rockets.

Washington has described the drills as defensive in nature, but Pyongyang says they are a rehearsal for invasion and has long called for them to end.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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