Eight days before Trump's Singapore summit with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, a group of Senate Democrats - including Minority Leader Charles Schumer - sent the president a letter urging him to seek the "complete and verifiable denuclearization" of North Korea.
Trump was also asked about whether North Korea's human rights record came up at the summit, and he told ABC News that the issue was discussed "briefly" and then "at length". "And many of those casualties will be in the first three, five, seven days of the war, where all those people in the greater Seoul area (are) exposed to the North Korean threat that we will not be able to mitigate initially". "They made it happen".
The presidential office said the measures were particularly needed at a time "when a variety of serious dialogues have been held between the North and the US for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of relations". "Even when the North Korea issues are solved, the joint military drills shouldn't be stopped immediately".
"We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money", Trump told reporters, adding he had agreed to stop the "war games" because he considers them "very provocative".
Trump was open to staying in Singapore longer in case things went well and North Korea wanted to continue the discussion, according to reports. "But that's not part of the equation right now", Trump said. A favored USA slogan in South Korea is "ready to fight tonight".
Some pro-military South Koreans feel deeply betrayed by President Trump's surprise announcement about suspending joint armed forces drills, which have been the most vivid display of the U.S.
The two leaders concluded their Tuesday meeting by signing an agreement that acknowledges progress in their talks.
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After their bilateral meeting at the Capella hotel in Singapore's Sentosa island, Trump and Kim met for a working lunch along with their aides.
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Critics of Tuesday's bilateral meeting in Singapore and the joint statement that followed cite the fact that North Korea has flouted past joint declarations, and that the word of the dictatorial leader can not be trusted. "We're not engaged in any reduction of USA forces talks, and I think we all wait until after this settles and we go forward".
"We've adhered to the position of considering [the halt] during the process of dialogue even in the past", he added, asking the outlets to refer to a previous statement from the Blue House.
"Sanctions are not an end in themselves", he said, "the Security Council, through its actions, should support the current diplomatic negotiations".
Washington has described the drills as defensive in nature, but Pyongyang says they are a rehearsal for invasion and has long called for them to end.
Human rights campaigners complain that North Korea's Kim is being rewarded with concessions and global prestige even as the country punishes dissent with political prisons and torture, according to United Nations reports and other groups.
Kimberly Atkins is traveling in China with a delegation of journalists hosted by the China-United States Exchange Foundation.