Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

North Korea: Trump agreed to 'step-by-step' approach to denuclearization

North Korea: Trump agreed to 'step-by-step' approach to denuclearization

India on Tuesday welcomed the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a "positive development" and hoped that any resolution on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula will address its concerns over Pyongyang's nuclear proliferation linkages.

Speaking in Beijing following Trump and Kim's signing of a joint statement at the end of their historic summit in Singapore, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated that China has always strictly abided by all United Nations resolutions on North Korea.

His statement was quickly portrayed by critics as a major, unreciprocated concession to a country that only past year was threatening Seoul and Washington with nuclear war.

"I have always opposed "freeze for freeze", because it equates the US-ROK exercises (stabilising, legal) with North Korea testing (destabilising, illegal)", Abraham M. Denmark, director of the Asia Programme at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, tweeted. The South Korean military seemed similarly surprised. The senator added that because of Trump's comments referring to the end of the exercises, "that's why I said there needs to be some clarification".

A South Korean senior presidential official on Tuesday said Seoul believed the "greatest achievement" of today's DPRK-U.S. summit was the two leaders developing confidence in each other as partners. -North Korea summit and President Trump's trade negotiation strategy in China.

The US and South Korea are security allies, with about 30,000 American troops based in country to defend it from its northern neighbour, which launched an invasion in 1950.

"I want to bring our soldiers back home", Trump said, although he added that it's "not part of the equation right now".

"I think it's very provocative".

Despite a year-long stand-off over Seoul's deployment of a USA anti-missile shield, China and the South found themselves on the same side last year after Trump threatened the North with "fire and fury" when it tested missiles that Pyongyang said could reach the United States mainland.

This was seen by some analysts as a big victory for China, since Beijing had sought a "dual suspension" - or "freeze for freeze" - by which the US and South Korea would freeze military exercises in exchange for the North suspending nuclear weapons testing. This could be part of USA efforts to ensure regime security for North Korea.

"The USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises - to include this fall's scheduled Ulchi Freedom Guardian", it said in response to a question from Yonhap News Agency.

"There is no single change in the suspension of the South-U.S. joint military exercise compared to the past", Nam said.

The summit was the first in history between a sitting U.S. President and a DPRK leader.

Pressed on whether he was surprised by the decision to halt the military drills, spokeswoman Dana White said: "There were no surprises".

Trump and Kim's joint pledge to work toward "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" was widely interpreted as failing to convince North Korea to accept Washington's definition that calls for Pyongyang to get rid of its arsenal.

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