Jun 12, 2018 - World

Trump: U.S. ending "war games" on Korean peninsula

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump confirmed that the United States would be ending its joint military exercises with South Korea at a press conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, calling them "a very provocative situation."

Why it matters: While North Korea has agreed to "complete denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula as its major concession, Trump was light on details about what that process might look like or how it could be verified.

"I gave up nothing. I’m here. I haven’t slept in 25 hours. … Only a person that dislikes Donald Trump would say that I’ve made a big commitment."
— Trump pushing back on the idea that he hadn't secured anything in return for the U.S.

The other big takeaways: Trump touted Kim's agreement to denuclearization throughout the press conference, saying that he had also agreed to destroy "a major missile engine testing site."

  • But Trump couldn't expound on a framework for international verification of that denuclearization, adding, "It's going to be achieved by having a lot of people there …We’re going to have a lot of people there and we’re going to be working with them on a lot of other things." He added that denuclearization would be overseen by a combination of Americans and international workers.
  • Sanctions against North Korea will remain in place but "will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor."
  • The remains of American soldiers lost in the Korean War will be returned to the U.S., according to Trump.
  • Embassies could be open "hopefully soon," though Trump added that it's a "little bit early for that."
  • Trump will go to Pyongyang "at a certain time" and "also will be inviting Chairman Kim at a certain time to the White House."

More quotes:

  • On human rights in North Korea: "It’s a rough situation over there. … It’s rough, it’s rough in a lot of places by the way — not just there."
  • On Kim taking over as leader at age 26: "He is very talented … I don’t say he was nice. Very few people at that age — one out of 10,000 couldn’t do it."
  • On Kim's genuine commitment: "He was very firm in the fact that he wants to do this. I think he might want to do this as much or even more than me."
  • How he tried to convince Kim: "They have great beaches, you see that whenever they're exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I say, boy, look at that view, wouldn't that make a great condo? ... Think of it from a real estate perspective."

Go deeper: Check out Axios' live updates on the Trump-Kim summit.

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Sports

What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.