North Korea’s state news organization is now crowing that leader Kim Jong-un got President Donald Trump to make several concessions that the two countries never announced publicly — including lifting sanctions on the regime.
As NPR reports, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) is claiming that Trump assured Kim that he would suspend joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, while also vowing to lift sanctions on the country.
While Trump said that he would suspend military exercises after the summit in Singapore, he made no mention of pledging sanctions relief.
Additionally, the KCNA says that Trump agreed that denuclearization should come in an incremental, step-by-step process — which contradicts Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming that the administration favored a swift all-at-once denuclearization to avoid getting caught up in the kinds of bureaucratic games North Korea has employed in the past.
Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert at People’s University in Beijing, tells NPR that Trump’s vow to halt joint exercises was itself a gift to China that he believes Trump will be forced to walk back.
“Shi predicts that such a move could face stiff domestic opposition,” NPR reports. “If U.S. troops in South Korea were to really halt military exercises, he says, it could cause allies to lose confidence in Washington and undermine the entire U.S. military presence in Asia.”