U.S. to Suspend War Games With South Korea After Kim Summit

The US-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every year

Trump stunned observers on Tuesday, after meeting North Korea's leader, by saying the regular joint US-South Korea military exercises would be halted as Washington fleshes out a deal with Pyongyang.

Even before Singapore, everyone knew the DPRK would not "de-nuke" (Trump terminology) for nothing, especially when promised just some vague U.S. "guarantees".

President Trump (3rd R) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (3rd L) as they sit down with their respective delegations for the U.S.

In this handout photo released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System firing an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile during a U.S.

The country's defence minister, Itsunori Onodera, said drills and the United States military presence in South Korea were "vital to security in East Asia". But the post-summit statement avoided any mention of the suspension of military drills or Trump's suggestion that he could pare down USA troop levels in South Korea at some point.

'It was one meeting and we should never have expected that everything would be resolved in one meeting, ' she said, adding it could take months or years of further work.

"Kim Jong-un clarified the stand that if the US side takes genuine measures for building trust in order to improve the DPRK-US relationship, the DPRK, too, can continue to take additional goodwill measures of the next stage commensurate with them", said the KCNA report.

Joint military exercises between US and South Korean troops have long angered Pyongyang. "We have no intention of changing our joint drills with the US", Itsunori Onodera said.

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That would restrict the possible candidates to a handful of men trusted by Kim within North Korea's highly opaque leadership circle.

Mattis was not among the surprised, according to a spokeswoman.

China has confirmed that Pompeo will visit Beijing on Thursday.

"Great progress was made".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been assigned to decipher the summit for South Korea and another bedrock ally, Japan.

But with no clear signs of how or when the process will unfold, others have been more cautious about the summit's implications. Trump's total sidelining of North Korea's infamous human rights abuses has also caused concern.

In China, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that the fact that the two leaders "can sit together and have equal talks has important and positive meaning, and is creating a new history". The US secretary of state has said Washington will demand "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation. The North has said that it wants a phased approach in dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

Trump was open to staying in Singapore longer in case things went well and North Korea wanted to continue the discussion, but moved up his departure time after finding out when Kim was leaving.

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