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Trump says summit removed North Korean nuclear threat

**Source: reuters.com

Jun 13, 2018 2:30 PM - 2 months, 2 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes, 17 seconds ago

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Trump says summit removed North Korean nuclear threat

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SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat and his top diplomat offered a hopeful timeline for a “major disarmament,” despite skepticism at home that Pyongyang will abandon its nuclear weapons following this week’s summit.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their historic meeting in Singapore on Tuesday that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.

Democratic critics in the United States said the agreement was short on detail and the Republican president had made too many concessions to Kim, whose country is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs and is widely condemned for human rights abuses.

North Korea’s state media hailed the summit as a success, including highlighting Trump’s surprise announcement after the meeting that the United States would stop military exercises with South Korea, which the North has long sought.

Despite the lack of detail in the summit agreement, Trump stressed at a news conference afterward that he trusted Kim to follow through. He returned to Washington early on Wednesday and hailed the meeting, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, as a major win for American security.

“Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted. “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!”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is charged by Trump with leading follow-on negotiations, said the United States hopes to achieve “major disarmament” by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years.

Democratic lawmakers pointed out that North Korea has often made similar statements in the past about “denuclearization,” all the while developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could be capable of striking the United States.

‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’?

“One trip and it’s “mission accomplished,” Mr. President? North Korea still has all its nuclear missiles, and we only got a vague promise of future denuclearization from a regime that can’t be trusted,” said Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

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“North Korea is a real and present threat. So is a dangerously naive president,” he wrote on Twitter.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, also a Democrat, said of Trump’s tweet about North Korea no longer presenting a threat: “This is truly delusional.”

The summit statement provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up a nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified. Skeptics of ...

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