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Posted at: Jun 13, 2018, 1:23 AM; last updated: Jun 13, 2018, 1:23 AM (IST)SINGAPORE SUMMIT

US vows to end ‘provocative’ war games in South Korea

Move a ‘concession’ to a jittery Pyongyang
US vows to end ‘provocative’ war games in South Korea
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and PM Lee Nak-yon watch a TV screen showing the summit between US President Donald Trump and N Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting in Seoul. AFP

Seoul, June 12

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that the US would stop the “very provocative” and costly military drills with key ally South Korea after his historic summit here with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, widely seen as a concession to a jittery Pyongyang.

The US and South Korea are security allies, with about 30,000 American troops based in the country to defend it from its northern neighbour, which launched an invasion in 1950. They hold joint military exercises every year that anger North Korea which has long demanded an end to the drills and frequently responds with volatile steps of its own, leading to a spike in tensions.

“We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Trump, also the commander-in-chief of the US military, told reporters, adding he had agreed to stop the “war games” because he considers them “very provocative”.

Trump’s declaration that the US would end joint military exercises with South Korea, fulfils a major demand by North Korea that has long claimed they are invasion rehearsals.  He also said he wants to withdraw American troops stationed in South Korea, like he had promised during his election campaign.

The move appears to be based on the ‘freeze-for-freeze’ proposal mooted by China, under which North Korea would stop nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt to the military exercises.

South Korea’s Presidential Blue House said it needed to “find out the precise meaning or intentions” of Trump’s statement, while adding that it was willing to “explore various measures to help the talks move forward more smoothly”. A spokeswoman for US military forces in Korea, meanwhile, said they had not received any direction to cease joint military drills.

“USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises — to include this fall’s schedule Ulchi Freedom Guardian,” US Forces in Korea spokeswoman Lt Col Jennifer Lovett said.  “In coordination with our ROK partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance.” — Agencies

Video starring Trump, Kim pitches for peace

When US President Donald Trump sat down to make the case for peace to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, he rolled out what amounted to a movie trailer starring the two leaders. Trump said Kim and other senior members of the North Korean delegation had huddled around an iPad to watch the four-minute video, which appeared to draw more from the hype of Hollywood than the careful language of diplomacy. “I think he loved it,” Trump said, referring to Kim. Reuters

Indian-origin man spends Rs 38K to meet Trump

An Indian-origin man from Malaysia went to Singapore and spent a whopping $573 (approx Rs 38,600) to put up at a luxury hotel for one night so that he could get a chance to meet US President Donald Trump. Maharaj Mohan, 25, a consultant, checked into the Shangri-La hotel on Monday. However, all Mohan got for his trouble was a selfie with The Beast, the eight-tonne bulletproof Trump’s limousine, a report said. PTI

India calls summit a ‘positive development’

India welcomed the historic summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un as a “positive development” and hoped that any resolution on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula would address its concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear proliferation linkages. Soon after Trump and Kim signed a “comprehensive” document promising to end decades of hostilities between the two countries, the MEA, in New Delhi, said India supports efforts to bring about peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy. PTI

UN sanctions may be eased: China 

  • China said sanctions against Pyongyang could be eased if it complies with the UN resolution, after the successful Singapore summit 
  • N Korea is reeling under the UN economic sanctions for holding nuclear tests. Pyongyang’s defiance last year had Beijing giving a go-ahead to punishing sanctions against the reclusive state
  • “Sanctions are not an end. The Security Council should support the current efforts and contribute to the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said
EU ready to facilitate future talks

  • Praising the summit as a “crucial and necessary step” towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the EU said it is ready to facilitate and back the follow-on negotiations and other steps
  • “This summit was a crucial step to build upon the positive developments achieved in inter-Korean relations and on the peninsula so far,” EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said 
  • He said the aim of the world remained “the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and Pyongyang allowing inspections and not rebuilding any weapons it gives up

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