N Korea media highlights Trump concessions on war games


As US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to South Korea for follow-up talks on Wednesday, much of Asia was still trying to process the whirlwind events of the day before.

By tweeting threats of nuclear annihilation after North Korea's missile tests, Trump created the very crisis that he believed only he could solve by meeting with Kim and lowering the temperature by giving away the store.

Pompeo says he was there when Trump talked about it with Kim. Now that Kim has a hydrogen bomb and missiles that can deliver it to the United States, he says he doesn't need to test them anymore and can dedicate more of his resources toward the economy. Ultimately, in the short term, at least while diplomacy continues, Trump's tweets seem to indicate he is ready to live with the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and potentially the capacity to fire them at the United States, in an implicit erosion of the USA strategic position.

The POTUS' remarks came as a big surprise to South Korea, which said on Tuesday that Washington has not reached out to them to discuss halting the military drills. "No longer - sleep well tonight!"

Trump later promised to end "war games", with ally South Korea, a concession to Kim that appeared to catch the Pentagon and Seoul government off guard and sowed confusion among Trump's Republican supporters in Washington.

"Under the circumstances that we're negotiating a very comprehensive complete deal, I think it's inappropriate to have war games", Trump said of the joint military exercises that for decades have bolstered USA and South Korean readiness.

The administration's argument is that the incremental approach used by past administrations has allowed North Korea to extract rewards and incentives from the US, only to ultimately renege and refuse to give up its nukes.

It's reflective of a broader theme on the KOSPI index, with other South Korean construction companies (such as Hyundai Cement, up more than 300%) also posting strong gains in recent months. Also, by letting North Korea dictate what the USA military does, Trump sends the United States down a slippery slope.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in meanwhile hailed the outcome of the Singapore Summit, saying the "historic event" had ended the last Cold War conflict. South Korea will now purchase F-35A stealth aircraft from Lockheed Martin, one of the company's most modern fighters.

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Under the deal, the North retains its nuclear warheads, the missiles to launch them and has not agreed to any specific process to get rid of them.

Trump said the negotiations he has initiated should help improve conditions in the isolated country, which successive U.S. administrations have targeted for gross human rights violations.

During the Hannity interview, Trump claimed that Kim agreed to terms that, for some reason, didn't make it into the actual written agreement.

Over the years, state media has described them as pouring "gasoline on fire" and risking an "uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war".

But others said it's a great step forward for peace. "And at the point that it's concluded they are not, the president's commitment to not have those joint exercises take place will no longer be in effect".

There are usually two sets of exercises every year, in spring and autumn, involving a massive number of troops and military hardware.

Ultimately, that may end up being the only option that the U.S. has short of war.

In the aftermath of the Singapore summit, the anti-Trump talking point is that Trump accomplished nothing of effect.