US AND NORTH KOREAN LEADERS HEAP PRAISE ON EACH OTHER, SIGN DECLARATION OF PEACE
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did what they claimed would change world history yesterday by signing a four-point joint statement after their unprecedented summit in Singapore to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.
“Today we had a very historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind – we are about to sign a historic document. The world will see a major change,” Kim said during the signing ceremony after the summit.
Trump said: “I thank Chairman Kim for taking a bold step towards a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting between an American president and a leader of North Korea proves that real change is indeed possible. My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest and productive… We are preparing to start a new history and we are ready to write a new chapter between our nations in nearly 70 years [since the Korean War].”
The document is a result of the summit in the city-state of Singapore, which both Trump and Kim praised for its excellent arrangements and something that Singapore, the current chair of Asean, can be proud of.
Key elements in the historic paper are an emphasis on an establishment of ties between Washington and Pyongyang, lasting peace in the Korean peninsula, complete denuclearisation there and exchanges of prisoners of war.
The joint statement added: “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to North Korea and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”
The Singapore summit took place in a global spotlight yesterday, with North Korea’s nuclear ambition widely considered one of the world’s most pressing geopolitical problems. It is thus hoped that the meeting of the two leaders will contribute to peace and stability not only on the Korean peninsula but all over the world.
The body language of the two leaders at the beginning of the meeting at the Capella hotel on the island of Sentosa, which means peace, initially made many observers nervous and sceptical of the two men’s ability to produce any meaningful result.
It was not until Trump and Kim took a walk together in the hotel compound after a closed-door meeting and Trump hinted to waiting journalists that they were about to sign an important – and in his words “comprehensive” – document that onlookers’ fears began to ease. The two leaders also had lunch together.US President Donald Trump (2nd R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) sign documents as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong (L) look on at a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018 (AFP photo)
There were no insulting words to each other before or after the summit – Trump even praised his counterpart, a man about half his age, as a smart and good negotiator.
The president invited Kim to visit Washington and said he would visit Pyongyang at an appropriate time. Another summit is possible, he said in a press conference lasting more than an hour.
The dismantling of weapons of mass destruction was a key element of the summit’s discussions. While the signed document did not mention how Pyongyang would carry out a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation (CVID), Trump said that “the process is now going to take place”, adding: “Chairman Kim has told me North Korea has already destroyed a major missile engine-testing site.”
Trump said that the process would be verified by a number of people to prove the completion of denuclearisation. He also said he was well aware that Washington and the international community had in the past wasted billions of dollars as an ultimately futile incentive to the regime in Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions.US President Donald J. Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) strolling together through the grounds of the Capella Hotel after their working lunch during the historic summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, Singapore, 12 June 2018 (EPA photo).
Trump also said he believed Kim would not act like his father Kim Jong-il had done in the past and use the denuclearisation process as a decoy to cheat the US and the world. He said he was confident of this because the younger man had now glimpsed a brighter future.
“I really think he wants to get it done, I really feel that very strongly,” said the president.
However Trump said that sanctions would remain in effect until North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was no longer a threat. The US would not reduce its military presence in South Korea in the short term, said Trump, but he also pledged to stop military exercises in South Korea. This, he said, would save a vast amount of money and prevent any provocative actions in the region.US President Donald J. Trump (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) shake hands across the table during the expanded bilateral meeting as part of the historic US and North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, Singapore, 12 June 2018 (EPA photo). US President Donald Trump speaks at a press conference following the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018 (AFP photo).