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The U.S. Will End War Games, But N. Korean Sanctions Will Remain

Trump's statement came after he signed an agreement with North Korean leader

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The U.S. Will End War Games, But N. Korea Sanctions Will Remain
The U.S. Will End War Games, But N. Korea Sanctions Will Remain, flickr
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The US will end its joint military exercises with South Korea, but sanctions on Pyongyang will remain in place, President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday.

Trump’s statement came after he signed an agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un which included a pledge to work towards a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”.

The US leader said he believed his North Korean counterpart would live up to the agreement. But “in the meantime the sanctions will remain in effect”.

He said he would push for North Korea to denuclearize as “fast as it can mechanically” but added it could take a long time. “Scientifically you have to wait certain periods of time… But once you start the process, it means it’s pretty much over.”

Trump said the process would start “very soon” and added sanctions would be removed “when we are sure the nukes are no longer a factor”.

He also said he would stop the joint military exercises with South Korea, which North Korea describes as a “preparation for war”. The President also described the military exercises as “too expensive”.

Trump said he hopes to eventually withdraw US forces from South Korea, but said “that’s not part of the equation right now.

“I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home… But that’s not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses for pictures with female pilots
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses for pictures with female pilots, flickr

Trump said he had agreed to stop the “war games” because he considers them “very provocative” and said it would save the US “a tremendous amount of money”.

“We’ve done exercises for a long period of time, working with South Korea… They’re tremendously expensive. South Korea contributes but not 100 per cent. We have to talk to many countries about treating us fairly. The war games are very expensive, we pay for a big majority of them.”

He added: “We’re negotiating a very complicated deal… I think it’s inappropriate to have war games.”

Trump said the summit marked a “great moment in the history of the world” and stressed that denuclearization would be verifiable by international and US experts.

The leaders have agreed to have follow-on negotiations led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior North Korean official.

Trump said he had invited Kim to visit the White House at “the appropriate time” and that the North Korean leader had accepted his invitation.

He said that Kim told him that North Korea was “destroying a major missile engine testing site”. The commitment was not included in the joint declaration the two men signed, but Trump said: “We agreed to that after the agreement was signed.”

Trump said he was confident that Kim will live up to the document that they both signed. “I don’t think they have ever had the confidence in a President they have right now for getting things done.”

He also praised Kim “ability to run a country at a young age”. “He is very talented,” Trump said.

Also read: Trump’s Miami Golf Resort Attacked

Asked about a possible second summit with Kim, Trump told reporters that while one hasn’t been set up yet. “We’ll probably need another summit or meeting.” (IANS)

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Facebook Tackles Fake News, Deletes Almost 800 Accounts

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russia.

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Fake News, Facebook
This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA

Facebook announced Thursday that it had deleted over 800 mostly U.S.-based pages and accounts that were posting politically oriented spam and engaging in “inauthentic behavior.”

The social media giant declined a request from VOA News to name the 559 pages and 251 accounts. Nation in Distress, a pro-President Donald Trump page identified by The Washington Post as being among the banned, had over 3 million followers.

Facebook, India, Fake News
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Facebook said that many of the pages and accounts had posted political clickbait across multiple fake accounts to drive users to their websites, where they were often targeted with ads.

“Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was,” Facebook said on its news blog. “Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

Facebook, India, Fake News
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at a Facebook developers conference in San Jose, California. VOA

Facebook said “the ‘fake news’ stories or opinions these accounts and pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate,” noting the proximity of the 2018 midterm elections.

Also Read: ‘Fake Clone’ Message Goes Viral on Facebook

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russia, countries that have antagonistic relations with the U.S. The company says most of the pages and accounts banned this time were from the U.S. (VOA)