September 20, 2018 12:14
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed President Moon Jae-in's declaration with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "tremendous progress" although the two leaders agreed little of any substance.
"Kim Jong-un has agreed to allow nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts," Trump claimed hyperbolically. "In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing."
In fact, Kim only agreed to let international inspectors verify the destruction of a missile engine test site that has already taken place.
The tweet came just about an hour and 20 minutes after Moon and Kim gave a press conference around 10:40 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. He tweeted again seven minutes later, "Also, North and South Korea will file a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics. Very exciting!"
He then told reporters at the White House there had been "tremendous progress" on several fronts, adding, "We have a lot of very good things going."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was equally enthusiastic, saying he had invited his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho to meet in New York at the UN General Assembly.
In a written statement, he added, "This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-[North Korea] relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."
But commentators in the U.S. immediately expressed skepticism, though they pointed out that Trump's very hyperbole could also pave the way for a second summit that might then produce more palpable results.
Trump needs to play up his achievements ahead of looming mid-term elections in the U.S., where his sorry approval ratings among all but his core supporters and his dismal international image present a liability to his Republican Party.
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