Today, the on-again, off-again summit between the erratic premiers of the USA and North Korea finally took place. The scene was set on Singapore’s Sentosa island as the star-spangled banner hung next to the Ramhongsaek Konghwagukgi. At approx 9am local time, at a luxury hotel, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un shook hands in front of the world’s press as an explosion of flashbulbs lit up the moment.
Trump and Kim held a private meeting with only interpreters present that lasted 38 minutes, before joining the rest of their delegations for a working lunch.
The US President played the video below to the North Korean despot who had quipped that the meeting felt like a science fiction movie.
The Signed Agreement
Trump and Kim both signed an agreement that has been criticised as unclear and vague. The four main points are:
“The United States and the DPRK [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.”
A far cry from the previous war of words that took place between the two men (e.g ‘little Rocket Man’, ‘mentally-deranged dotard’, and the my button is a bigger than your button showdown) the wording of this statement seems to reflect both sides desire for a better relationship and Kim’s focus on improving North Korea’s economy, the assumption being that the USA will relax sanctions now that Kim has agreed to denuclearise.
“The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”
To formalise this sentiment the involvement of China and other countries that took part in the Korean War would be needed. Trump offered “unspecified” security guarantees to North Korea, “a gesture whose vagueness matches that of Kim’s commitment to denuclearise.” (Guardian, 12.06.18)
“Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”
Kim had already stated that the country would denuclearise in his summit with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In. Whether this is a feasible and likely scenario remains to be seen. CVID (complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement) of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal could take years and cost billions of dollars. Also Washington and Pyongyang both have different interpretations of the denuclarisation goal. Washington expects Kim to abandon his nuclear programme, whereas the regime wants the withdrawal of the US nuclear umbrella (a guarantee by a nuclear weapons state to defend a non-nuclear allied state) from South Korea, including the withdrawal of all 28,500 US troops along the South’s border with the North.
“The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.”
Stars and Stripes writes “Remains of an estimated 5,300 missing American service members are in North Korea and potentially recoverable, but because of an intensely strained relationship between the two countries, there’s been no successful effort to collect the remains since 2005.”
Japan will be disappointed that the text makes no mention of Japanese nationals who were abducted by North Korean agents during the cold war although Trump asserts that this issue was discussed at length.
Full wording of the agreement can be read here: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/12/full-text-trump-kim-korea-summit-637541
What else was discussed?
This was a high stakes meeting; both leaders stand to lose a lot of face if the other reneges on the deal and with both being famous for their unpredictable and boarish nature we could see a collapse in their “excellent relationship” (Trump’s comment after knowing Mr Kim for less than an hour) sooner than we think.
Love him or loathe him, Trump has accomplished something with this meeting. As distasteful as it is to many that the American president has met with a man responsible for so many murders and human rights abuses against his own people, without Trump’s concession to talks the situation for the North Korean people will never improve.
“Over my lifetime I’ve done a lot of deals with a lot of people and sometimes the people you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones and the people that you do trust turn out to be not the honorable ones,” Trump said to ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive post-meeting interview, “I believe he wants to get it done.”
Sources and Further Reading:
EXCLUSIVE: ‘I do trust him’: Trump opens up about Kim after historic summit
Trump Kim summit: US president hails deal after historic talks
Donald Trump meets Kim Jong-un: The handshake, the meeting and signing of joint statement – everything we know about the Singapore summit
Trump-Kim summit: Live Updates
What have Trump and Kim signed? We read between the lines
In pictures: Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un
‘Looking for More Details’: Investors React to Trump-Kim Deal
Veterans group urges Trump to push North Korea for recovery of Korean War-era remains
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