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Trump deserves credit for Koreas summit, looks for real progress

Vows to keep up pressures on North Korean Leadership

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has cautiously welcomed the talks between North and South Korean leaders and has claimed credit for progress on denuclearization pledges.

President Trump, who says he plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late May or early June for an unprecedented summit to try to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons, reaffirmed the “unwavering” US commitment to maintain that umbrella.

In a joint statement after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said the US commitment to defend Japan “through the full range of US military capabilities” was “unwavering”.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to the “permanent and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea” and the need for Pyongyang to abandon all of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs while vowing stepped up sanctions enforcement.

Trump was also quoted as saying that at newly appointed Secretary of State Pompeo formed a “good relationship” with Kim when he met him in Pyongyang and the US President said he hoped the summit would be successful.

However, President Trump also issued a veiled warning when he said that he would call it off if he did not think it would produce results.

Trump told a joint news conference with Abe that his campaign of “maximum pressure” on North Korea would continue until Pyongyang gave up its nuclear weapons.

In a joint statement after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said the US commitment to defend Japan “through the full range of US military capabilities” was “unwavering”.

They reiterated their commitment to the “permanent and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea” and the need for Pyongyang to abandon all of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs while vowing stepped up sanctions enforcement.

According to foreign media reports North Korea has expressed its commitment to “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula and has not attached conditions, South Korea’s president says, but Washington remains wary and has vowed to maintain “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said agreements about denuclearisation, establishing a peace regime and normalisation of relations between the Koreas and the US should not be difficult to reach through a North-South summit next week, and a later summit planned between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

“I don’t think denuclearisation has different meanings for South and North Korea. The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearisation,” Moon said on Thursday during a lunch with chief executives of Korean media companies.

“They have not attached any conditions that the US cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo met Kim this month to discuss a proposed summit with Trump and reported that the North Korean leader was not demanding the withdrawal of all US forces as a precondition for the meeting, the Reuters news agency quoted a US official as briefing on Pompeo’s trip told Reuters.

However, the official, who did not want to be identified, said that while Kim was open to negotiating “denuclearisation”, the term remained undefined and potentially deceptive, given the need for a timetable and an inspection regime.

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