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Mattis not surprised by Trump's call to end military exercises: Pentagon

13 June 2018

President Trump said he had some intensive and comprehensive discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. and saw that Kim had made a decision to take a first bold step towards a bright new future.

Trump is now in Singapore for talks with his North Korean counterpart, which began with a handshake between the two men and then continued with a sit-down meeting.

Following their summit in Singapore, Trump and Kim pledged to denuclearise the Korean peninsula and work for finding a peaceful resolution to seven decades of hostilities between the two countries.

But a joint statement signed at the end of their historic summit in Singapore gave few details on how either goal would be achieved. Between 1990 and 2005, an agreement between the USA and North Korea to repatriate unaccounted for service members led to the recovery of 229 remains and the identification of several others.

Kim has already visited China twice to meet Xi, ahead of his meeting with Trump, to ally apprehensions of striking a deal with Washington on the back of Beijing.

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As reports emerged that the South Korean government was surprised by the announcement, questions were raised about whether Mattis and other US policymakers had also been caught off guard.

"It sounds there like he's parroting North Korean talking points", said host Nicolle Wallace, referencing the fact that Trump described the war games as "provocative" - exactly how North Korea had recently described them recently. The statement made clear that Pyongyang was expecting US concessions before any moves by the North.

"Yes, Donald Trump reached out", he said.

Highlighting the continued differences in the two countries' views of the denuclearization process, the report also said that they had agreed on a "step-by-step" approach.

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He instead suggested Trump's comment about suspending military exercises was "part of the negotiating". The Singapore summit proved a landmark victory for both.

In his post-summit press conference, Trump alleged that China was relaxing sanctions at its North Korean border as the situation improved.

The last time North Korea cooperated in a recovery effort between 1990 and 2005, only 229 sets of remains were recovered. No one to see me.

The first three pages of Wednesday's coverage in the Rodong Sinmun included 33 images of Trump, Kim, other attendees, and an image of the signed joint declaration.

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Mattis not surprised by Trump's call to end military exercises: Pentagon