Trump Agrees to Stop U.S.-South Korea Military Exercises, Says He Trusts 'Very Talented' Kim
WASHINGTON -- President Trump said he trusts North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to follow through on initial agreements to work toward denuclearization after "very intensive hours together" that he found "honest, direct and productive."
"We're prepared to start a new history and prepared to write a new chapter between our nations," Trump said at a press conference in Singapore after daylong meetings with Kim and a joint signing of a declaration between the two that Trump said could lead to Kim being "remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era."
The two leaders did not discuss the contents of the document at the signing; Trump only called it "comprehensive." The White House released the document about halfway through Trump's press conference.
"President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the document states, not elaborating on the security guarantees. It also said the two parties "commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified" and would "commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity," but Trump did not say what those new relations would look like.
"Having acknowledged that the U.S.–DPRK summit—the first in history—was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously," the document added. "The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.–DPRK summit."
But Trump revealed at the press conference that North Korea received a long-sought concession: the ceasing of regular joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
He told reporters that the U.S. wouldn't be pulling troops off the Korean Peninsula -- for now. Defense Secretary James Mattis said last week that would be a non-negotiable point.
"We're not reducing anything," Trump said. "I want to get our soldiers out, I want to bring our soldiers back home at some point, I hope... we will be stopping the war games, which will be saving us a tremendous amount of money."
"I think it's very provocative," he said of the yearly exercises, echoing language North Korea uses to describe the drills, adding that stopping the exercises is something North Korea "very much appreciated."
Asked if North Korea was giving up something in return for the killed drills, Trump replied, "I gave up nothing. I'm here. I haven't slept in 25 hours. I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as for North Korea."