An upbeat President Donald Trump declared on Wednesday that the North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat to the United States following his landmark summit with Kim Jong Un, even though the meeting produced no verifiable proof that Pyongyang will dismantle its nuclear programme.
In a series of tweets, Trump sought to take political credit for the summit but risked undermining the US strategy in the region.
‘Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,’ Trump tweeted as he arrived back in Washington.
Trump also said that his meeting with Kim was an ‘interesting and very positive experience’ and that ‘North Korea has great potential for the future!’
The two leaders met on Tuesday, signing a joint statement on denuclearisation and reducing tensions.
President Trump said afterwards that sanctions on North Korea would remain in place for now, but would be lifted once ‘nukes are no longer a factor’.
He also announced an unexpected end to US-South Korea military drills.
The move — long demanded by Pyongyang — has been seen as a major concession to North Korea and appeared to take US allies in the region by surprise.
Trump also said in a separate tweet that North Korea is ‘no longer’ the US’ ‘biggest and most dangerous problem’, telling Americans and the rest of the world they can ‘sleep well tonight!’
After returning to the White House, 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 US will ‘save a fortune’.
‘There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea,’ he maintained. ‘President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer — sleep well tonight!’
Trump’s tweets pointed to one of the chief gains at the summit from the US point of view — that its scheduling and the establishing of a relationship between the President and Kim have eased fears that the two sides are on a slide toward a disastrous war.
After nearly five hours of unprecedented talks between Trump and Kim on Tuesday, the two leaders signed a document in which Kim ‘reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’ and the US agreed to ‘provide security guarantees’.
However, there was no mention of the previous US aim of ‘complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation’ from Pyongyang.
Kim’s commitments did not appear to go beyond what he already pledged to do in April when he met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in along their countries’ border, the CNN reported.
Following the summit, Trump told reporters in Singapore that Kim agreed to ‘destroying a major missile engine testing site’ and that it would be done ‘very soon’, without elaborating further on which testing site or timing.
The President also added that North Korea’s promise to complete denuclearisation ‘will be verified’, though the document the two leaders signed did not lay out details of that process.
Trump left the discussions assured that Kim would begin dismantling his country’s missile sites in the immediate future, telling ABC News that Kim ‘trusts me, and I trust him’.
Any lessening of tensions is positive but an assurance that the threat of war is removed based simply on a relationship between a President who is term-limited and a volatile dictator who leads a criminal regime lacks the certainty and permanence of verifiable disarmament that the administration says is its goal, the CNN commented.