Trump declares via Twitter the NKorea nuclear threat is over
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared on Wednesday that there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” a dubious claim following his summit with leader Kim Jong Un that produced no guarantees on how and when Pyongyang would disarm.
“Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” he tweeted. “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’s claim that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat is questionable considering Pyongyang’s significant weapons arsenal.
Independent experts say the North could have enough fissile material for anywhere between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs. Last year it tested long-range missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland, although it remains unclear if it has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead that could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target.
And while Trump and Kim have signed a joint statement that contained a repeat of past promises to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, the details haven’t been nailed down. Trump has said strong verification would be included in a final agreement, with the particulars sorted out by his team with the North Koreans next week.
“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “President (Barack) Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer - sleep well tonight!”
Trump’s chest-thumping tweets seemed reminiscent of the “Mission Accomplished” banner flown behind President George W. Bush in 2003 when he spoke aboard a Navy ship following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The words came back to haunt the administration, as the war dragged on throughout Bush’s presidency.
When asked whether Trump was jumping the gun by declaring victory, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters: “This president wants North Korea to completely denuclearize so obviously that has to be complete, verifiable and irreversible. That will take a while.”
Trump and Kim were returning to their respective strongholds following the talks — but to far different receptions.
In Pyongyang, North Korean state media heralded claims of a victorious meeting with the U.S. president; photos of him standing side-by-side with Trump on the world stage were splashed across newspapers. Trump, meanwhile, faced questions about whether he gave away too much in return for far too little when he bestowed a new legitimacy on Kim’s rule and agreed, at Pyongyang’s request, to end war games with Seoul that the allies had long portrayed as crucial to Asian safety.