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North Korea Agrees To Denuclearize; U.S. Pledges To End War Games

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In the biggest ever breakthrough for peace on the Korean peninsula as well as restoration of bilateral ties, the United States and North Korea have agreed to halt two major defense deterrents that posed the biggest threat to each other.

North Korea committed to work towards "the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula." In return, the U.S. has given assurance to North Korea that it is ready to stop "provocative and expensive" war games with South Korea.

The commitments were the main outcome of the historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that took place in Singapore on Tuesday.

In the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, the two sides signed an agreement that promises "new relations" between Washington and Pyongyang.

The highly anticipated summit between leaders of the two rival countries began at the Hotel Capella on Singapore's Sentosa Island with a 40-minute talk, accompanied only by interpreters.

The White House described the meeting as "a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."

The leaders then issued a joint statement, which says, "The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity; The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula; Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; and The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified."

The two sides decided to hold follow-on negotiations led by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a relevant high-level North Korean official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the summit.

After having lunch with Kim, Trump addressed the media and announced details that were not mentioned in the signed agreement.

He said the U.S. would suspend "provocative" war games it holds with South Korea and that he wanted to see U.S. troops withdraw from the South.

The U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises were a major irritant in ties between the United States and North, with Pyongyang criticizing the war games as a rehearsal for invasion.

However, Yonhap reported that U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said it had received "no updated guidance" yet related to the regular exercises with South Korea.

Trump told reporters that Kim had agreed to "verified" denuclearization" - a key U.S. demand before the summit.

He also said that North Korea promised to destroy a key missile engine testing site, without specifying its location.

Notably, the president made it clear that sanctions on North Korea will remain in effect until denuclearization happens.

Trump added that he held discussions with Kim on human rights and religious freedom in North Korea and the issue of Japanese abductees.

The United States delegation for the bilateral meeting included Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, and National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger joined them for a working lunch.

After the conclusion of the summit, Trump returned for the United States.

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