The two shook hands in front of American and South Korean flags before sitting down for their meeting.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says President Donald Trump’s nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un has helped move the region “from the era of hostility towards the era of dialogue, of peace and prosperity.”
He says through a translator he wants to hear how the parties can “fully and expeditiously implement this great agreement.”
The rival Koreas are holding rare high-level military talks to discuss reducing tensions across their heavily fortified border following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with President Donald Trump.
It’s possible North Korean officials during Thursday’s talks will seek a firm commitment from the South on stopping military drills with the United States.
Seoul’s Defense Ministry says the military talks will focus on carrying out agreements from a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in which they vowed to take steps to reduce military tensions and eliminate the danger of war.
They may also discuss efforts to recover the remains of Korean War soldiers.
But Trump’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, cautioned that the U.S. would resume military exercises with close ally South Korea if the North stops negotiating in good faith. The president had announced a halt in the drills after his meeting with Kim on Tuesday.
The summit in Singapore marked a sea change from last fall, when North Korea was conducting nuclear and missile tests, and Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults that stoked fears of war. Kim is now promising to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
But the details have yet to be settled.
Pompeo says he doesn’t know the exact timing. Speaking in Seoul, he says he expects it to happen fairly quickly after he and the North Koreans return to their nations. Pompeo returns late Thursday to the U.S.
He says President Donald Trump is “in the lead” but that “I will be the person who takes the role of driving this process forward.”
He says much more work has been done by the U.S. and North Korean that couldn’t be encapsulated in the Trump-Kim Jong Un statement. So he says teams will now work to make more progress on those items.
Pompeo is laying out an ambitious timeline for denuclearization following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. He says he won’t disclose specific timelines but that the administration is hopeful that “major, major disarmament” steps can occur before the end of Trump’s first term. The term ends in January 2021.
Pompeo is also urging skepticism after North Korean official media said Trump had agreed to a step-by-step approach to denuclearization. Pompeo isn’t being specific but says that “one should heavily discount some things that are written in other places.”
Pompeo is pushing back on criticism that the joint agreement signed by Kim and President Donald Trump includes no mention of verifying North Korean nuclear disarmament. Ahead of Trump’s summit with Kim, the U.S. had said disarmament must be “complete, verifiable and irreversible.”
But Pompeo tells reporters that it’s silly to focus on the lack of the word “verifiable.” He says that’s because the agreement does refer to “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Pompeo says that “in the minds of everyone concerned,” the word “complete” encompasses “verifiable.”
Pompeo says: “I am equally confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification.”
Pompeo says he was there when Trump talked about it with Kim. He says Trump “made very clear” that the condition for the freeze was that good-faith talks continue. He says if the U.S. concludes they no longer are in good faith, the freeze “will no longer be in effect.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan says President Donald Trump should be “applauded” for his meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. But Ryan is cautioning on Wednesday that the next steps toward an agreement won’t go fast.
The Wisconsin Republican, who is retiring this year, told reporters that “The president needed to disrupt the status quo, and the president has disrupted the status quo” with the historic meeting in Singapore. He said “the president should be applauded….Now let’s go get an agreement.”
He cautioned that no one should expect that process to go quickly. “Time,” he said, “will tell how this ends.”
Trump says that “500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal-looked like war would break out.”
The president says the country’s “biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”
Trump has been tweeting about his talks with Kim since Air Force One returned to the United States early Wednesday morning, arguing that the talks with North Korea have made the U.S. safer. Trump’s claim is dubious considering Pyongyang’s significant weapons arsenal.
Back in the United States, Trump is tweeting about his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea even though experts estimate that Kim’s government has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs.
Trump says on Twitter that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office.”
Trump and Kim signed an agreement to work toward denuclearization, but it appears weaker than past deals that failed. Independent experts estimate North Korea now has enough fissile material for 20 to 60 bombs, and it has tested missiles that could potentially deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland.
Air Force One touched down at Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning, completing the president’s marathon trip to Asia for talks with the North Korean leader. The president made refueling stops in Guam and Hawaii on his return to Washington.
While his aircraft refueled in Hawaii, Trump thanked Kim for “taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people,” saying their summit on Tuesday “proves that real change is possible!”
Follow AP’s summit coverage here: http://apne.ws/MPbJ5Tv
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