Arts&Culture

Australia says end to South Korea-US war games not a certainty

Australia says end to South Korea-US war games not a certainty

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history with their meeting Tuesday in Singapore, which ended with a pledge by Pyongyang "to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and an unexpected announcement that the USA would suspend military drills with South Korea.

The 33 photos seen in Wednesday's Rodong Sinmun were far less than the 50 featured in the Rodong the day after the April 27 inter-Korean summit but the April event had been a one-day trip for Kim Jong Un while Kim was in Singapore for three. But, you know what?

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Trump on taking a "major step. that will lead to an historic peace".

"We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money", Mr Trump said, labelling the exercises "inappropriate" and "very provocative". The soldiers have participated in drills with South Korean counterparts and tested their capacity for joint military operations. The statement made clear that Pyongyang was expecting USA concessions before any moves by the North.

Speaking later as he flew out of Singapore bound for the USA territory of Guam - towards which Pyongyang a year ago threatened to lob missiles - Trump said he meant to hold North Korea to its word on denuclearization.

This is not the first time Kim has showed his fluency of diplomatic language.

It was not immediately clear what specific progress, if any, had been made in preliminary discussions between USA and North Korean officials.

"This was a step in the right direction, and I think the world is a slightly safer place today than it was yesterday", Republican Senator Mike Rounds said.

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Sen. Cory Gardner cautioned that the summit "must be followed by multiple meetings to test North Korea's promises of denuclearization, which they have made in the past and then repeatedly violated".

But others were sharply critical, claiming it appeared Mr. Trump offered the freeze in joint military drills without first securing full buy-in from South Korea.

It said the two countries would co-operate towards "new relations", while the U.S. would provide "security guarantees" to North Korea. The narrator references some of Trump's main arguments to Kim, namely that eliminating his nuclear stockpile would allow his country to benefit economically and re-enter the world community.

The president opened his news conference by playing, on a pair of movie theatre-sized screens, a dramatic, slickly produced video with voice-overs in both Korean and English.

Trump called the North Korean leader "worthy", "smart" and "talented" after the Singapore summit while days earlier describing Trudeau as "dishonest and weak" following a G7 summit in Quebec.

It was a choice that Trump, who has elevated North Korea to his top foreign policy priority, hoped Kim would consider an easy one, though he showed a moment of self-doubt.

"South Korea is a little confused. It was a bad thing, it was brutal, but a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea".


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