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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 16 August 2018

Pompeo moves to reassure allies as glow from Singapore summit fades

Trump's vow to end 'provocative' military manoeuvres scares allies in Seoul and Tokyo

A South Korean man reads a newspaper reporting the U.S. President Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018, in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
A South Korean man reads a newspaper reporting the U.S. President Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018, in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

As the glitz and glamour of US President Donald Trump’s Singapore summit starts to fade, his top diplomat has moved in to contain the fallout from some of his classically off-the-cuff remarks. And back home, people have started to ask what concessions the master deal-maker actually secured from isolated North Korea?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo beamed as he arrived in Seoul, but he was there to meet South Korean and Japanese officials left baffled by Mr Trump’s promise to end “provocative” military drills – for once the US president’s words, not North Korea’s.

The US wants to achieve North Korean nuclear disarmament within two-and-a-half years, Mr Pompeo said, adding that discussions would continue within weeks.

But there was no getting away from the reason for his visit – to reassure allies in Seoul and Tokyo that Mr Trump's decision to end drills may not have been as definitive as his statement appeared. The next round of manoeuvres is scheduled for later this summer, but it is unclear if they will still go ahead.

Kim Eui-kyeom, South Korea’s presidential spokesman, said Seoul is still trying to figure out the exact meaning and intent of Trump's comments.

Back in the US, questions were being asked about quite what North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had offered, besides vague promises and loosely defined goals. Pundits then contrasted the agreement with Iran’s nuclear deal that Mr Trump recently tore up.

Not to have anyone dampen his diplomatic coup, Mr Trump took to Twitter to hit back at the naysayers.

"The Fake News, especially NBC and CNN [are] fighting hard to downplay the deal," the president tweeted. “[The country’s] biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!"

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Read more:

Trump says historic summit ended North Korea nuclear threat

North Korea meets America's Fire and Fury with Art of the Deal

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