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Made-for-TV summit puts Trump the Showman in spotlight

14 Juin 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) meets with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore on Sunday.

And while Trump and Kim have signed a joint statement that contained a repeat of past promises to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, the details haven't been nailed down.

Current and former U.S. defence officials expressed concern at the possibility that the United States would unilaterally halt military exercises without an explicit concession from North Korea that lowers the threat from Pyongyang. Donald Trump then guided Kim Jong-un to the library where the one-on-one meeting was to take place.

On state media, North Korea had a different take, announcing a longer timeframe and saying Mr. Trump had agreed to lift sanctions.

"Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea". No longer - sleep well tonight!'

After returning to the White House Wednesday, Trump also defended his decision to halt the joint military exercises with South Korea, which he called "war games" - a term used by Pyongyang - arguing on Twitter that the United States will "save a fortune".

"It's propaganda in the end", said Jeong Hyung-gon, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.

The KCNA report, as well as the joint statement after the summit, also mentioned that the president had offered North Korea unspecified security guarantees, which Pyongyang considers an indispensable precondition for nuclear disarmament.

Sebastian Gorka praised President Trump after his summit with Kim Jong Un that went "beyond all expectations". Current and former U.S. officials say they're concerned at the possibility that the USA might stop military drills unilaterally, without an explicit pledge from Pyongyang to lower its threat.

Even worse, Trump surprised South Korea and even other US officials when he appeared to announce a USA concession that was never mentioned publicly when he was with Kim: the suspension of the U.S. Trump said he would invite Kim to the White House "at the appropriate time" and that Kim had already accepted the not-yet-extended invitation. "We understand each other", Trump said of Kim.

Critics at home said the USA president had given away too much at a meeting that gave global standing to Kim.

But ahead of his sit down with Kim, Trump had said he would gauge whether the North Korean leader was honest with "just my touch, my feel".

In the summit statement, Kim pledged to "work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" - a stock phrase favoured by Pyongyang that stopped short of longstanding USA demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

"I would love to get the military out as soon as we can because it costs a lot of money and a lot of money for us", Trump said. If you can't reduce it to writing, it's meaningless and he knows it. I used to say this during my campaign...

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

"It's not a burden onto the American taxpayer to have a forward deployed force in South Korea", Ms Graham told CNN. "Let me assure you that "complete" encompasses "verifiable" in the minds of everyone concerned".

Made-for-TV summit puts Trump the Showman in spotlight