South Korea seeks clarity from USA after Trump-Kim summit

The US-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every year

Take, for instance, the incredible pen-swap that happened when the two sat down to sign the very important document through which Kim pledges to drop nuclear weapons and the war with South Korea.

The end of the war games is well-timed for the first summit in what is expected to be a series of meetings, as it both has a large visible impact and allows for bigger deals to be built upon this in the months to come.

"The most important, hard part of this security issue is for the United States and North Korea to sit down to find a way to resolution via equal talks", Wang said. Fiscal-minded South Koreans wonder if possible reunification could drain the South's treasury.

Nam said Seoul welcomed the news that President Trump had "sufficiently expressed" his trust in Kim. The South Korean military seemed similarly surprised.

The summit meeting is a good start between the US and North Korea, she said.

On Monday, Mattis told Pentagon reporters that there had been no discussions on future withdrawals of USA troops from Korea.

He instead suggested Trump's comment about suspending military exercises was "part of the negotiating".

Away from the TV, the former "Rocket Man", now respectfully recast in Trump terminology as "Chairman Kim", did strike a formidable coup by completely erasing the dreaded acronym CVID - or "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization" - from the final text of the Singapore joint statement.

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"Stopping the joint exercises has been a long-term goal for North Korea and China", two Asia analysts, Victor Cha and Sue Mi Terry, wrote in a summit assessment for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In fact, the Chinese foreign ministry hinted before Trump's press conference that it knew about the president's decision in advance. But the post-summit statement avoided any mention of the suspension of military drills or Trump's suggestion that he could pare down US troop levels in South Korea at some point.

The reporter then corrected himself, saying "South Korea" before Mr Turnbull said "ah right, OK" and proceeded to answer the question.

"At this point, we need to find out the precise meaning or intentions of President Trump's remarks", a Blue House spokesman said.

When asked to clarify Pence's message on whether the joint military exercises would continue, Gardner, who leads a Senate panel overseeing policy toward North Korea, responded: "I think there are certain exercises that will continue, yes".

Following the unprecedented summit, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement in which they agreed to craft "new" bilateral relations and make joint efforts to build a "lasting and stable" peace regime on the peninsula.

Klug reported from Singapore.

Kim Yong Chol has spent almost 30 years in the intelligence community, including a stint as chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's main spy agency.

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