President Donald Trump has agreed to “alter” the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, revealing an apparent promise from Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un that wasn’t announced at the time.
“He has made very clear his commitment to fully denuclearise his country,” Pompeo said of the North Korean leader at the Detroit Economic Club. “In return for that, the president has committed to making sure that we alter the armistice agreement, provide the security assurances that Chairman Kim needs.”
Before the June 12 summit, Trump raised the possibility that a formal peace treaty ending the Korean War of 1950-1953 could be one outcome of his meeting with Kim. But the joint statement the pair signed made no such promise. Instead, it said only that the US and North Korea would “join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that “We’re finalising the details of what the process will look like. Certainly would confirm Secretary Pompeo’s comments.”
A National Security Council official, who asked not to be named to speak about private deliberations, said that the two sides had committed to the building of
a peace mechanism whose eventual goal would be to replace the armistice.
It wasn’t the first time the administration disclosed a US commitment from the summit that wasn’t cited in the final document.
Hours after meeting Kim in Singapore, Trump told reporters the US would suspend military exercises with South Korea as long as North Korea continues down the path towards denuclearisation.
Trump was criticised for suspending the exercises without a major concession in return. A promise to alter the armistice raises questions because it’s not something the US could do on its own: Any formal treaty would probably need a sign-off from other nations, including China, and need ratification from the United Nations Security Council.
Trump hinted that the two sides had come to several agreements that weren’t mentioned in the joint declaration.