UPDATE : 2018.11.16 FRI 01:47
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Trump says 'long way' from conclusion on N. Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that the North Korean nuclear crisis is far from over, but the regime's willingness to denuclearize is "great" for the world.

"We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won't -- only time will tell," Trump tweeted. "But the work I am doing now should have been done a long time ago!"

He lashed out at an NBC news anchor for alleging that the U.S. had given away a lot in negotiations with North Korea in return for nothing, saying, "Wow, we haven't given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!" U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that the North Korean nuclear crisis is far from over, but the regime's willingness to denuclearize is "great" for the world.

"We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won't -- only time will tell," Trump tweeted. "But the work I am doing now should have been done a long time ago!"

This image shows U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)This image shows U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)

He lashed out at an NBC news anchor for alleging that the U.S. had given away a lot in negotiations with North Korea in return for nothing, saying, "Wow, we haven't given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!"

North Korea said Saturday it would stop all nuclear and ballistic missile testing and close a nuclear test site ahead of a potential summit with Trump in May or June. It did not say it would abandon existing nuclear weapons, raising skepticism the country is serious about denuclearization.

Uncertainty remains over whether the U.S. and North Korea mean the same thing by denuclearization. The U.S. has made clear that it seeks a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, while North Korea has called for a phased and synchronized approach that many believe could mean the removal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea, among other things.

"I think from our perspective, it means full denuclearization -- no longer having nuclear weapons that can be used in warfare against any of our allies," White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said on NBC.

Republican senators voiced caution in the wake of the North's latest announcement.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, called it a "great public relations effort" by Kim.

"I think everyone within the administration and Congress approaches this with skepticism and caution," he told CNN. "And yet I'm glad the two leaders are talking."

North Korea could easily reverse its pledge to halt weapons testing, he argued, "but, again, I think he is handling himself well to begin the meetings in a way that almost put the United States on the defensive."

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) also discounted the North's announcement, saying it's an easily reversible decision.

"I think this announcement on Friday is better than continued testing, but it's not much better than that," he told CBS. "They made no announcement about their medium- or short-range ballistic missiles that threatened hundreds of thousands in Korea and Japan."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un invited Trump to a summit in March as he expressed a commitment to denuclearize and to suspend all nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

South Korean officials conveyed the message to Trump, and he accepted the invitation on the spot.

The potential summit, as well as the upcoming inter-Korean summit on Friday, have defused somewhat tensions that rose sharply last year due to Kim's nuclear and missile tests and war of words with Trump.

The U.S. president said last week he could walk away from the meeting if it didn't promise to bear fruit.

The date and venue for the meeting have yet to be determined.

Trump, who was in Florida over the weekend, was asked by reporters about his message to North Korea, to which he stuck his thumbs up and said, "Very good."

In a separate tweet, he added, "Funny how all of the Pundits that couldn't come close to making a deal on North Korea are now all over the place telling me how to make a deal!" (Yonhap)

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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