The US and North Korea agreed to seek “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” following a historic summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, yet set no deadline and left the path to disarmament undefined.
Trump defended the two-page document he signed
with Kim at the end of their meeting in Singapore earlier on Tuesday, saying that he thinks his North Korean counterpart will live up to it. “It’s very comprehensive,” the president said. “It’s going to happen.”
Immediately after the meeting, North Korea scored two key victories as China voiced support for revisiting economic sanctions against the regime and Trump announced a suspension of military exercises with South Korea.
Still, the president said he wouldn’t draw down US troops from the peninsula and would continue sanctions until Kim’s nuclear programme was “no longer a problem.”
He praised Kim for entering into negotiations with the US, a longtime foe, and called the meeting “a very great moment in the history of the world.” The North Korean leader said the document “heralds a new start, leaving the past behind.” “The world will witness a major change now,” Kim said before leaving the summit site.
The four-hour meeting, in which the two leaders strolled and lunched together at a tropical resort, was aimed at easing decades of tensions between adversaries that only last year seemed on the brink of nuclear war. Less than a year ago, Trump was mocking the young dictator as “Little Rocket Man” and Kim was deriding the president as a “mentally deranged US dotard.”
The Singapore summit was a major gamble for both men, and their joint statement was swiftly dissected for what it meant for eliminating one of the world’s greatest security threats: Kim’s nuclear stockpile.
A loose agreement risked giving North Korea room to continue work on its weapons programme while getting relief from sanctions pressure.
“It greatly reduces the likelihood of armed conflict in the near future,” said Thomas Countryman, who was assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation during the Obama administration. “But the document lacks substance. It says less than previous agreements the US has reached with the DPRK, and leaves open key questions that would normally have been resolved prior to such a summit.”
Trump committed the US to providing unspecified “security guarantees” to North Korea, as the two sides promised to continue talks. The communique said nothing about how the two countries would reach the goals, and “complete denuclearisation” — the key point of contention between negotiators — wasn’t spelled out.
The document doesn’t include the words “complete, verifiable and irreversible” and omits Kim’s previous pledges to halt missile and nuclear testing. Nonetheless, at a news conference after the signing, Trump insisted that Kim was committed to giving up his weapons.
“I may be wrong,” Trump said. “I may be standing in front of you in six months and say I was wrong, I don’t know if I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of excuse.”
North Korea was likely to interpret the communique as evidence that its nuclear might had strengthened its position from earlier negotiations, said Adam Mount, a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington.
“Pyongyang will use this language to portray itself as a nuclear power, entitled to neglect its disarmament commitments just like the other nuclear powers,” Mount said.
Trump said that the US military would suspend some drills that North Korea has regarded as rehearsals for war, but offered no specifics about which exercises would be affected.
“Our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean Peninsula is going to a very much different situation than it has in the past,” he said.
US, N Korea sign statement
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
Trump and Kim conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognising that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un state the following:
1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits
to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains,
including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries, Trump and Kim commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully.