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Pentagon Announces Suspension of Pindo Drills With SK
Sputnik News, Jun 14 2018

A senior Pindo boxtop told AFP:

Major military exercises have been suspended indefinitely on the Korean Peninsula.

The move follows a statement by Pres Trump in a press conference after the summit with Kim Jong-un that it was inappropriate to hold “war games.” Earlier in the day, SK Pres Moon Jae-in stated that a change in military pressure on NK would be possible only if Pyongyang was to “carry out denuclearization steps sincerely.” On Jun 12, Trump and Kim met on the Singaporean island of Sentosa, after which they signed a document showing their commitment to establish new bilateral relations and build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. After the summit, Trump told a news conference that military exercises in the region were “provocative” and might be suspended, saying:

The war games are very expensive. We pay for the majority of them.

Pompeo Says ‘Unanimity’ NK Sanctions to Stay Until Nukes Are Gone
Nick Wadhams, Jihye Lee, Bloomberg News, Jun 14 2018

Pompeo said at Pindostan, China, SK and Japan agree that sanctions imposed on NK won’t be lifted until Kim Jong Un’s regime can show complete disarmament, pushing back against NK suggestions that penalties would soon start being relaxed. Pompeo, who met earlier in the day in Seoul with officials from Japan and SK, told reporters Thursday in Beijing following talks with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi:

Each of those three countries has also acknowledged that it’s important that the sanctions regime that is in place today remain in place until such time as that denuclearization is, in fact, complete. There has been unanimity in that set of objectives, and I’m heartened by that. We have made very clear that the sanctions, and the economic relief that NK will receive, will only happen after the full denuclearization, the complete denuclearization, of NK.

It was similar to a message Pompeo delivered Thursday in Seoul, when he was asked about NK claims that Pres Trump had committed to a “step-by-step” process and “expressed his intention” to lift sanctions. Those assertions appear to contradict Trump’s pledge to keep penalties in place until Kim’s nuclear weapons “are no longer a factor.” Pompeo told reporters:

Chairman Kim Jong Un understands the urgency of the timing of completing this denuclearization, and understands we must do this quickly, and the sanctions relief cannot take place until such time as we have demonstrated that NK has been completely denuclearized.

Pres Trump has come under increasing criticism because the 1½-page statement that he and Kim signed Tuesday in Singapore spelled out no specific NK commitments besides working toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a promise the regime has repeatedly made and broken since the 1990s. For weeks, Pompeo and other officials have insisted NK must agree to “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” before economic sanctions can be lifted. Pompeo said during a news conference with foreign ministers Taro Kono of Japan and Kang Kyung-wha of SK that the agreement included those demands, even if they weren’t spelled out. Pompeo said:

The summit created this enormous historic opportunity for us to move forward and will fundamentally really shape the relationship between Pindostan & NK. Verification is essential to that. ‘Complete denuclearization’ certainly encompasses that idea very clearly.

After first arriving in Seoul on Wednesday, Pompeo said he expected that NK would take major steps toward nuclear disarmament during Trump’s first term. Pompeo said:

We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in, what was it, the next two and half years. We’re hopeful we can get it done. There’s a lot of work left to do.

Bridling at a reporter who asked Wednesday how the deal would be verified, Pompeo said:

I find that question insulting and ridiculous and frankly ludicrous! I just have to be honest with you! It’s a game! It’s a game, and one ought not play games with serious matters like this!

The lack of details contributed to an air of skepticism in Faschingstein about what Trump accomplished. Trump also drew criticism for announcing he was ending joint “war games” with SK, embracing the frequent NK criticism that the exercises are “very provocative.” The allies were discussing a suspension of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises scheduled for August, SK’s Money Today newspaper reported Thursday, citing an unidentified defense ministry official. While Moon didn’t address the drills in his own public remarks with Pompeo, he said the meeting had reduced the threat of war. Kang, the SK foreign minister, said:

Our understanding is that what Pres Trump said after his deep consultation with Chairman Kim Jong Un is aimed at strengthening the budding dialogue momentum between SK & NK.

Pompeo had said Wednesday:

The President made it very clear that the condition precedent for the exercises not to proceed was productive, good-faith negotiations being ongoing. 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.


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