Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Trump White House sows confusion on South Korean 'war games' pledge

Trump White House sows confusion on South Korean 'war games' pledge

WITH US President Donald Trump setting the course for normalising ties with North Korea and even saying that war games with South Korea would end, China appeared to be a beneficiary from Tuesday's summit, while Japan welcomed the outcome.

Photographs of Trump and Kim Jong Un crowded the first half of Wednesday's six-page Rodong Sinmun newspaper, featuring the two shaking hands, sitting together and walking alongside each other at the summit venue in Singapore.

The document indicates the leaders will work toward establishment of "new US-Democratic People's Rrepublic of Korea relations".

"Kim Jong Un and Trump had the shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", KCNA said in the statement Tuesday.

Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. State Department diplomat specialising in the Koreas, said the summit was more about style and symbolism.

Colonel Rob Manning, another spokesman, said: "We are going to be aligned with the president", while noting that the readiness of United States forces would remain "paramount".

The other group homes in on Trump's concessions, noting that his agreement to cease United States-South Korea military exercises is a big win for Kim, and was made without getting the United States anything significant in return.

He also criticized Trump's stunning announcement that he was halting annual US-South Korean military drills and wanted to remove the 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.

When relations between the US and the DPRK thawed slightly between 1990 and 2005, a repatriation agreement allowed 229 sets of remains to come home to American families.

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He added: "The six countries of the G7 without the United States are a bigger market taken together than the American market". The G7 Summit has been largely overshadowed by Trump's attempts to organize a summit with North Korea in the coming days.

Pompeo is scheduled to immediately fly to Seoul and Beijing after the summit to brief South Korean allies and Chinese officials on the discussions, reflecting the reality than any solutions in the region will need buy-in from those nations.

Chung Lee, who is owner of Kim's Korean Restaurant in Spokane, moved to the USA from South Korea more than 35 years ago.

Quite a bit, compared to the U.S.

"South Korea contributes [to the military exercises], but not 100 percent, which is a subject that we have to talk to them about", the president said.

But Daniel Davis, a retired army lieutenant colonel and fellow at the Defense Priorities military think tank, said suspending the drills would have no short-term impact on US and South Korean military readiness. However, Trump said North Korea sanctions would remain in place - for now.

"Honestly, I am more concerned about my situation of finding a job than what's happening with the North", said Kim Hee-min, 24.

"I feel safer amid the recent progress towards peace with North Korea", said a man, 21, who just started his military service this year and was out on vacation, at Seoul Station.

He also said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Central Intelligence Agency background comes into play when understanding how Kim could react to the summit with President Trump.

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