Trump-Kim summit ends: Both sides walked away smiling but major results yet to be achieved
Son Ha Tran
The unprecedented and historic meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un ended today with “unexpectedly positive outcomes.”
The two leaders signed a joint agreement on nuclear disarmament and reducing tensions between the two sides.
Trump said the talks with the North Korean leader went well and he believed the meeting was a tremendous success in terms of improving relations with the North.
“We will have a terrific relationship,” he said. “I have no doubt.”
Kim said the meeting was a huge leap from the past, which has always been hindered by “old practices and prejudices,” according to a translator.
Many people in the world still couldn’t believe the U.S.-North Korea summit happening, it’s like a scene from a fantasy or a science fiction movie, Kim said through his translator.
The two are said to have had an unusual one-on-one high-level talk believed to be about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the annual joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea.
Trump and Kim were later joined by advisers from both sides for a roundtable discussion and a working lunch for more detailed discussions.
The meeting, which was hosted by Singapore on Sentosa Island, ended relatively well with a historic document signed agreeing on many fundamental issues.
The joint agreement stated both sides aim to build new, fresh, and healthy U.S.-North Korea relations and work together toward a lasting and stable peace.
The agreement stated the North is committed to work towards a complete denuclearization of the peninsula but did not specify when and how the process will go.
A few hours after the meeting, Trump held a press conference to address initial results from the meeting with Kim.
Trump reaffirmed even though the denuclearization the Korean Peninsula is being worked on, all the sanctions on North Korea still remain in effect.
The president avoided talking about Kim personally when asked about the dictatorship ruling North Korea, saying he admired Kim’s talent not personality.
Trump said he would attempt to stop “the war games” which costs America billions of dollars every year as soon as he can.
Marius Grinius, former Canadian ambassador to South Korea and North Korea and a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said the joint agreement was an good initial step from both sides on the Korean Peninsula issues but the hard part is yet to come.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 12, 2018
“It’s always the question of the details,” Grinius said. “It’s never a common understanding of what complete denuclearization on Korean Peninsula means.”
He said the U.S. and North Korea still have a long way to go before they can jointly define “complete, irreversible, verifiable denuclearization” and it’s not going to be easy.
Grinius said what the two sides put on the negotiating table are debatable and so are their ultimate objectives.
“The Americans, as usual, are very impatient and North Korean are going to be much more careful,” he said. “On top of that is the question of verification, no one knows how many nuclear weapons North Korea actually possesses and how powerful they really are.”
Grinius said it’s very doubtful Kim Jong Un would actually give up nuclear weapons.
“They (North Koreans) even call it the powerful treasured sword for defending peace,” he said. “We’ll soon find out when the negotiation starts, how committed both sides are going to be.”
James Trottier, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a former career Canadian diplomat, said Trump attempting to end the U.S.-South Korea joint military drills was a risk to their alliance.
“The language President Trump used is kind of North Korean terminology, which they used to call those military exercises ‘war games,’ and ‘provocative,'” Trottier said.
“The ending of the military exercises is more like a trade off for North Korean missiles and nuclear test site,” he said.
Trottier said the meeting had shown a positive sign of the Korean situation but it was too soon to talk about whether Kim would fully commit the denuclearization deals.
“I don’t think this discussion would lead to the denuclearization, but it’ll open a channel for building and improving their relations,” he said.
Trottier said there’s concern about either the American or North Koreans losing their patience along the way to the final agreement.