Trump and Kim fly home but U.S.-North Korea negotiations far from over

The headline acts may have departed the stage but there’s still plenty of activity in the wings

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un returned home Wednesday, with commentators left to debate the merits of their unprecedented summit in Singapore

For Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, his work in the region isn’t over.

On Wednesday, he flew to the South Korean capital of Seoul for meetings with Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

One of the unexpected outcomes of the talks was Trump’s revelation that he had agreed to pause joint military exercises with South Korea.

This appeared to blindside both the Pentagon and South Korea’s military, and was criticized by some experts as giving away a huge concession for little in return.

Donald J. Trump

 

@realDonaldTrump

 
 

Just landed – a long trip, but 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!

 

Donald J. Trump

 

@realDonaldTrump

 
 

Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!

 

Donald J. Trump

 

@realDonaldTrump

 
 

We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!

 

In Japan, which has seen North Korean missile tests fly over its territory, the prospect was met with concern.

 

“The U.S.-South Korea joint exercises and U.S. forces in South Korea play significant roles for the security in East Asia,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

In Seoul, Pompeo will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kon, before flying to Beijing to brief the Chinese government.

With the world watching, Trump and Kim signed an agreement Tuesday that billed itself as “an epochal event of great significance.”

 

It said Kim’s regime had agreed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” — echoing the same promises the North has made several times before.

Back in Pyongyang, Kim returned to a rapturous reception from his state-run media, which — like almost all other aspects of public life in the isolated state — is tightly controlled by the young dictator’s regime.

The Korean Central News Agency portrayed the summit as one of normalizing relations between Kim and the U.S. The word “denuclearization” was mentioned only twice, and lower down in the 1,300-word report.

Trump’s reviewers haven’t been so unanimous.

 

Skeptics criticized the president for giving too much away for too little, all the while legitimizing and even praising one of the world’s most brutal dictators.

Others said the summit was the promising, symbolic start of a long process, and preferable to last year’s nadir that saw the two countries trade threats of nuclear war.

This article originally appeared on https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/trump-kim-fly-home-u-s-north-korea-negotiations-far-n882671