Offbeat South Korean ambassador pick splits with Trump on 'nuclear threat' from North

20:27  14 june  2018
20:27  14 june  2018 Source:   thehill.com

Pompeo: N.Korea's Kim told me he was 'prepared to denuclearize'

  Pompeo: N.Korea's Kim told me he was 'prepared to denuclearize' Washington's top diplomat Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Kim Jong Un had personally informed him that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear arsenal. The secretary of state is the most senior US official to have met the North Korean leader and a key figure in preparations for next week's historic summit.US President Donald Trump is due to meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore for a summit called to press Pyongyang to end its nuclear and long-range missile programs. "He has indicated to me personally that he's prepared to denuclearize. That he understands that the current model doesn't work," Pompeo said.

Just before Trump ’s speech began, the Washington Post reported that Trump ’s pick for ambassador to South Korea — Victor Cha, one of America’s most respected North Korea experts — was So Trump dumped him. The CIA is worried about North Korea selling nuclear tech to the highest bidder.

Trump 's claim that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat is questionable considering Pyongyang's significant weapons arsenal. It appeared to catch the Pentagon and officials in Seoul off guard, and some South Koreans were alarmed. Trump cast the decision as a cost-saving measure

President Donald Trump is welcomed by U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris, then-commander of U.S. Pacific Command, at its headquarters in Aiea, Hawaii, in 2017. Harris is Trump's nominee for ambassador to South Korea. © Jonathan Ernst President Donald Trump is welcomed by U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris, then-commander of U.S. Pacific Command, at its headquarters in Aiea, Hawaii, in 2017. Harris is Trump's nominee for ambassador to South Korea. President Trump's pick to be ambassador to South Korea said Thursday that North Korea remains a nuclear threat to the U.S., contradicting remarks Trump made a day before.

"We have to continue to worry about that," retired Adm. Harry Harris told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing.

Harris was responding to a question from the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), who asked whether North Korea is still a nuclear threat.

South Koreans feel hope and doubt ahead of Trump-Kim summit

  South Koreans feel hope and doubt ahead of Trump-Kim summit South Koreans have been riding an emotional roller coaster during the diplomacy that set up the summit next Tuesday between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The hope is that improved relations between Washington and Pyongyang will ease tensions and dispel the threat of war, which has hung over the region for more than a half-century.

The White House has pulled back from nominating a respected foreign policy expert to be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea after he expressed In the piece, he addressed his opinions about the “bloody nose” strategy, saying the answer to the North Korean threat was “not, as some Trump

He said: “There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea . North Korean state media lauded the summit as a resounding success, saying Trump expressed his intention to halt U.S.- South Korea military exercises, offer security guarantees to the North and lift sanctions against it as relations

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea" following his summit earlier this week with leader Kim Jong Un.

Harris, the former head of U.S. Pacific Command, voiced support, however, for Trump's decision to temporarily suspend large-scale, joint military exercises with South Korea while negotiations with North Korea are ongoing.

Critics say that halting the "war games" with South Korea represents a disappointing concession to Kim.

For world, Trump-Kim summit raises cautious hope for peace

  For world, Trump-Kim summit raises cautious hope for peace Cheers in South Korea and a one-page "extra" edition of a Japanese newspaper have greeted the unprecedented summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Trump became the first sitting American president to meet a North Korean leader Tuesday at a resort hotel in Singapore. Trump became the first sitting American president to meet a North Korean leader Tuesday when the two shook hands firmly before sitting down to talk at a resort hotel in Singapore.

In his first television interview as North Korean ambassador to the UK, Choe Il gave an unflinching performance in aggressive ‘diplomacy,’ declaring that his country will carry out a sixth nuclear test.

Harry Harris as his ambassador to South Korea . It comes before Trump speaks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12. Trump finally announces his pick for ambassador to South Korea — right in the nick of time.

Harris oversaw military drills between Washington and Seoul and defended them even as North Korea regularly criticized them.

"We are obliged to defend South Korea by treaty," Harris told lawmakers last year. "They have a very strong and capable military, as we do. But if we're going to defend them or if we're going to fight with them on the peninsula, then we have to be able to integrate with their military."

Harris addressed his prior remarks during his confirmation hearing.

"In my previous capacity I spoke very strongly about the need to continue with military exercises, most notably in 2017, but we were in a different place in 2017," Harris explained Thursday. "North Korea was exploding nuclear weapons, they were launching ballistic missile almost willy nilly. ... if war wasn't imminent, it was likely."

But following Trump's meeting with Kim in Singapore on Tuesday, Harris believes that "we are in a dramatically different place."

Trump says North Korea 'no longer a nuclear threat'

  Trump says North Korea 'no longer a nuclear threat' U.S. President Donald Trump, arriving back in the United States on Wednesday after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Pyongyang no longer posed a nuclear threat. "Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. 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!" Trump wrote on Twitter.North Korea also was no longer the United States' "biggest and most dangerous problem," he added.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared on Wednesday there was "no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea ," a dubious Pompeo, who flew to Seoul to brief South Korean leaders on the summit, said the U.S. wants North Korea to take "major" nuclear disarmament steps within the

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the North Korean regime no longer poses a nuclear threat following his summit with Kim Jong Un “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea .” Controversial Plan to Split California Into 3 States Earns Spot on November Ballot.

People in Seoul, South Korea, in 2017 watch a television broadcast reporting a North Korean missile launch. © Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images People in Seoul, South Korea, in 2017 watch a television broadcast reporting a North Korean missile launch. "I think the whole landscape has shifted and I believe we should give exercises, major exercises, a pause to see if Kim Jong Un is in fact serious about his part of the negotiations," he said.

Trump earlier this week announced that after meeting with Kim, the U.S. would be "stopping war games" on the Korean peninsula as long as talks with North Korea stay on track.

The Pentagon has still not said which drills would be halted and for how long, but a U.S. official told AFP Thursday that "major military exercises have been suspended indefinitely on the Korean peninsula."

The Defense Department holds two major joint military drills with South Korea each year, in roughly March and August.

Harris explained that the paused drills are needed to "create some breathing space for the negotiations to continue and assess whether Kim is serious on his part of the deal or not."

Asked if he thought the exercises were provocative, as Trump said when he announced their temporary suspension, Harris replied that "they are certainly of concern to North Korea and China, but we do them in order to exercise our ability to work and interoperate with our South Korean allies."

Harris also said postponing the exercises "for short periods of time" won't damage military readiness in that part of the world.

He added that he believes Trump was referring to postponing the Pentagon's larger, semiannual exercises with South Korea, rather than regular training and readiness drills, "but I don't know that for a fact. That would be up to the Department of Defense to determine what is allowable under the new construct."

Harris also made clear that "alliance commitments to South Korea remain ironclad and have not changed."

North Korea sticks with ‘new era’ pledge despite Trump’s reversal over nuclear threat level .
The reports by a state-controlled website marked the first comments from North Korea on U.S. relations since Trump's shift on the threat level from Pyongyang.The comments also did not address promises by North Korea to return the remains of some U.S. military personnel from the Korean War. On Saturday, the U.S. military sent 100 wooden coffins to a U.N.-supervised area in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in anticipation of receiving some of the remains.

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