ADDS POMPEO COMMENTS IN GRAPHS 11-14
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that North Korea is "no longer a Nuclear Threat" after agreeing to a broad-stroke accord with the country's leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
Critics have indicated Trump sacrificed too much in order to obtain the rough outline for future efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, but Trump was dogged in his views early Wednesday morning after returning from Asia.
"Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office," Trump said on Twitter during an early morning tweet storm. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"
North Korea's official media on Wednesday celebrated key outcomes from the previous day's summit between Trump and Kim, including a phased approach to the North's denuclearization and the expectation that Kim will visit the White House.
The two leaders "gladly" accepted mutual invitations to each other's nations, according to Pyongyang's KCNA news agency. Such visits involving serving U.S. and North Korean leaders would be unprecedented.
While both Kim and Trump appear pleased with their broad agreement that North Korea will denuclearize in return for American security guarantees, their deal did not produce a clear plan to bring about Washington's original goal to remove the North's nuclear weapons in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" manner.
Instead, it seems they are following Kim's stated vision for gradual change.
Pyongyang was able to claim victory with the end of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which Seoul and Washington have for years insisted were defensive in nature.
After claiming Tuesday that the war games have been "expensive and provocative", Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to say the U.S. is saving "a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!"
"Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!" Trump added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been Trump's point-person on North Korea, told reporters while en route to South Korea the administration is aiming to achieve "major disarmament” of the North within two-and-a-half years.
The brief joint communique issued by Pyongyang and Washington did not mention a timeline for the process, saying only that the North "commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", raising further questions about the process.
Pompeo said not all of the understanding reached between the parties "appeared in the final document.
"We couldn’t reduce them to writing, so that means there’s still some work to do, but there was a great deal of work done that is beyond what was seen in the final document that will be the place that we’ll begin when we return to our conversations," he added.