Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Donald J. Trump, president of the United States of America, held a first, historic summit on Sentosa Island, in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
Four points in a joint statement were all included in past agreements with North Korea, and there was no mention of Kim’s human-rights abuses or the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
“This is a paper-thin agreement” that “does not commit Kim to real compromises and deadlines,” said Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador who served Clinton and both Bush administrations.
Conflicting reports about what Trump offered North Korea are emerging, with many allies caught off guard and skeptics questioning the claims made by the most dishonest president in history.
North Korean state media have reported that Trump made a raft of concessions that were not included in the joint statement released following the meeting in Singapore, among them unspecified security guarantees, which Pyongyang considers an indispensable precondition for nuclear disarmament.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the president pledged to suspend military drills with South Korea, and lift sanctions on the North.Suspending joint exercises appears to have caught South Korea’s Defense Ministry, other allies and U.S. forces in Korea off guard.
Kim and Trump released a statement that said they agreed that the two nations will establish new relations in accordance with the desire of their peoples for peace and prosperity, and they will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
The leaders reaffirmed the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Both nations commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea,” tweeted Trump, who frequently ratcheted up the rhetoric that led to those conclusions. “President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!”
Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert at People’s University in Beijing, said Trump’s pledge to stop military maneuvers is, from China’s perspective, almost “too good to be true.”
Shi predicts that such a move could face stiff domestic opposition. If U.S. troops in South Korea were to really halt military exercises, he says, it could cause allies to lose confidence in Washington and undermine the entire U.S. military presence in Asia.
“We need to try to understand what President Trump said,” said an anxious spokesperson for South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“At this point, we need to know President TruFormer State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson said the Kim dynasty has “longed for what a meeting with the United States—and, in particular, a meeting with the U.S. president—would give them in terms of that recognition.”mp’s exact meaning or intentions,” said Moon’s spokesperson. “However we think that it is crucial to pursue various solutions for better dialogue.”
The image of Trump grabbing Kim’s hand, and the president’s declaration that meeting the North Korean dictator—a man who has slaughtered, imprisoned, starved, and tortured millions—was an “honor” is the fulfillment of a dream, says former State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson.
Wilkerson said the Kim dynasty has “longed for what a meeting with the United States—and, in particular, a meeting with the U.S. president—would give them in terms of that recognition.”
The US and North Korea have very different ideas on what denuclearization means, according to many observers.
“Peace talks are better than missile launches but it seems clear that the self-proclaimed deal-maker Trump has given away more than he had won at the negotiating table,” said New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick. “It sometimes seems the American president is a puppet on a string when he deals with world leaders like Chinese Xi Jinping, Russian Vladmir Putin and North Korean Kim Jong Un, but when he meets such US allies as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he comes off like an arrogant bully. This strategy of alienating our friends can lead to isolation.”
“The statement itself is a joke,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Middlebury East Asia Nonproliferation Program and author of a novel about how the US and North Korea might stumble into a nuclear war if diplomacy collapses. “I’ve been in enough international meetings to be familiar with the type of American who lectures foreign diplomats and experts, then concludes that a bored non-response indicates agreement.”
The sobering assessments of his boastful claims drew this reaction from Trump: “So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”
Countering that opinion, was a sobering assessment from Michael J. Green is senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a professor at Georgetown University.
“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime has violated multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions by continuing to test ever more dangerous ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons and was found guilty of crimes against humanity by a U.N. Commission of Inquiry in 2014,” said Green, in an article published in Foreign Policy. “In Singapore, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he trusted Kim, said it was an honor to meet him, and declared peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
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