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TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT

Trump hails a 'very special bond' with Kim

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Mr Trump sounded triumphant following his meeting with Mr Kim, expressing confidence that the North Korean leader was serious about abandoning his nuclear programme and transforming his country.

Singapore

US President Donald Trump said that he had "developed a very special bond" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic summit here on Tuesday, and proclaimed the start of a new era that could break a cycle of nuclear brinkmanship and stave off a military confrontation.

"Yesterday's conflict does not have to be tomorrow's war," Mr Trump said at a news conference following more than four hours of talks with Mr Kim .

Mr Trump said that Mr Kim "reaffirmed" his commitment to denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and also agreed to destroy a missile site in the country. "We're ready to write a new chapter between our nations," he said.

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Mr Trump sounded triumphant following his meeting with Mr Kim, expressing confidence that the North Korean leader was serious about abandoning his nuclear programme and transforming his country from an isolated rogue regime to a respected member of the world community.

But he provided few specifics about what steps Mr Kim would take to back up his promise to denuclearise his country and how the United States would verify that North Korea was keeping its pledge to get rid of its nuclear weapons, saying that it would be worked out in future talks.

He told the news conference that the process would be verified, and that the verification "will involve having a lot of people in North Korea". He also said that Mr Kim had told him that North Korea was destroying a major engine-testing site used for missiles, but maintained that international sanctions on Pyongyang would stay in place for now.

"We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done," he said of the process to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons.

Mr Trump announced that he will order an end to regular "war games" that the United States conducts with ally South Korea, a reference to annual joint military exercises that are an irritant to North Korea. He added that the move would save Washington a tremendous amount of money and would not be revived "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should".

The United States has conducted such exercises for decades as a symbol of unity with Seoul, and previously rejected North Korean complaints as illegitimate.

Ending the games would be a significant political benefit for Mr Kim, but Mr Trump insisted that he had not given up leverage. "I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as it was for North Korea," he said, casting himself as a leader who can secure a deal that has eluded past presidents.

At his news conference, Mr Trump called Mr Kim, an absolute ruler accused of massive human rights violations, a transformational leader for his country. "Today is the beginning of an arduous process. Our eyes are wide open. But peace is always worth the effort," he said.

He added that human rights issues were raised on Tuesday, but did not give details. WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS

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