• Day after summit, Trump claims North Korea 'no longer a nuclear threat'

    By: USA Today

    Updated:

    President Donald Trump claimed that "there is no longer a nuclear threat" from North Korea after arriving back in Washington from Singapore where he met with Kim Jong Un for a historic summit. 

    Trump landed at Andrews Air Force Base early Wednesday and fired off a series of tweets about the meeting. 

    "Everybody can now feel much safer," he said. "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."

    Trump's optimism for what the summit achieved comes amid skepticism from his critics on whether he gave away too much in return for too little by agreeing to share a stage with Kim, a known human rights abuser whose regime has failed repeatedly to live up to diplomatic promises. 

    Trump and Kim signed a joint statement in which North Korea pledged to denuclearize, but there were few specifics on how and when that would happen. Much of the text repeated past vows to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. 

    There were also concerns from key U.S. allies Japan and South Korea after Trump agreed to halt American military exercises with South Korea, which North Korea has long claimed were invasion preparations. Both Japan and South Korea have large U.S. military presences in their countries. It was also a concession to Kim that appeared to catch the Pentagon and officials in Japan and South Korea off guard.

    More: North Korea's state media hails 'epoch-making' Trump-Kim summit

    More: U.S. will suspend military drills with South Korea, but can be restarted quickly

    "The U.S.-South Korea joint exercises and U.S. forces in South Korea play significant roles for the security in East Asia," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday.

    Past American presidents have refused face-to-face meetings with North Korea's leadership over fears of legitimizing a totalitarian state that has admitted to state-sponsored kidnapping and sent thousands of its citizens to forced labor camps. 

    Trump has appeared willing to overlook those issues in his quest to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. "I did it because nuclear is always number one to me," he said during a news conference in Singapore Tuesday. 

    Trump's enthusiasm for the agreement comes despite North Korea having taken no verified, concrete steps toward denuclearization. It also mirrors the zeal of the state media in Pyongyang. Newspapers Wednesday ran photos of Trump and Kim standing side-by-side on the world stage and touted an "epoch-making meeting much awaited by the whole world."

    More: The handshake, denuclearization and another summit: Six things to know from the Trump-Kim summit

    More: Analysis: When Trump met Kim, the handshake was more historic than the words

    More: Trump to Kim Jong Un: 'You could have the best hotels in the world' if you give up nukes

     

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