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Mixed reactions to North Korea summit on Capitol Hill

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Congressional reactions to the summit attended by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday have ranged from general approval to relative apathy.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mich., expressed concern over the removal of the United States' military presence on the Korean peninsula. He said that he would like more information about Trump's promise to reduce the number of military exercises in the area.

However, Blunt expressed relative approval over the results of the summit.

"It does seem to me that we have started down a path here that gets us to our goal," said Blunt.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the United States must proceed with caution as it moves forward in dealing with a country its never directly dealt with.

When asked about reducing military exercises, Grassley said that he would defer to members of the Department of Defense and that he would not take the president's word on the matter at face value.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., was blunt in her estimation of the results of the summit.

When asked what she thought the United States had gotten out of the meeting, she replied, "Not much."

Feinstein said that there was still a "clear and present danger" on the Korean peninsula and that denuclearization had to be the U.S.'s top priority.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said he thought the meeting was significant due to its place in history.

"History was made just by meeting face to face," said the senator.

He also invoked President Ronald Reagan, saying that in working with North Korea, the United States should "... trust, but verify."

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that President Donald Trump's willingness to meet with Kim was "a major step" toward peace on the Korean peninsula.

However, he said that if the north does not follow through on its promise to denuclearize, "We and our allies must be prepared to restore the policy of maximum pressure."

McConnell's Democratic counterpart Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was not impressed with the summit, saying that it might well be a "reality show" and that he believed Trump would be giving away American leverage.

Schumer said that if the north did not denuclearize, the "meeting alone will be a victory for North Korea and a defeat for the U.S."

McConnell was referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement that the U.S. goal remains the "complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula." However, that language does not appear in the agreement.

McConnell also said that "the next steps in negotiation will test whether we can get to a verifiable deal which enhances the security of North East Asia, our allies and of course, the United States."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., released a statement on the summit on Tuesday, saying that even though it took place, the meeting did not change the fact that "North Korea is a threat to the security of the United States, our allies, and the world."

Warren pointed out that previous leaders of the regime had broken promises to the international community in the past, and that the only measure of success would be the elimination of Kim's nuclear weapons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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