Trump-Kim treaty to de­nuke North Korea

US hails bold step, DPRK leader pledges ma­jor change at sum­mit

Pretoria News - - WORLD -

CLASP­ING hands and fore­cast­ing fu­ture peace, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Kim Jong-un com­mit­ted yes­ter­day to “com­plete denu­cle­ari­sa­tion” of the Korean Penin­sula dur­ing the first meet­ing in his­tory be­tween a sitting US pres­i­dent and a North Korean leader.

Yet as Trump toasted the sum­mit’s re­sults, he faced mount­ing ques­tions about whether he got too lit­tle and gave away too much – in­clud­ing an agree­ment to halt US mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with treaty ally, South Korea.

Meet­ing at a staged cer­e­mony on a Sin­ga­pore island, Trump and Kim came to­gether for a sum­mit that seemed un­think­able months ago, when the two na­tions traded nu­clear threats. The gath­er­ing of the two un­pre­dictable lead­ers marked a striking gam­ble by the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent to grant Kim long-sought recog­ni­tion on the world stage in the hope of end­ing the North’s nu­clear pro­gramme.

Both lead­ers ex­pressed op­ti­mism through­out roughly five hours of talks, with Trump thank­ing Kim after­wards “for tak­ing the first bold step to­wards a bright new fu­ture for his peo­ple”. Kim, for his part, said the lead­ers had “de­cided to leave the past be­hind” and promised: “The world will see a ma­jor change.”

Light on specifics, the doc­u­ment signed by the two lead­ers largely amounted to an agree­ment to con­tinue dis­cus­sions, as it echoed pre­vi­ous pub­lic state­ments and past com­mit­ments. It did not in­clude an agree­ment to take steps to­wards end­ing the tech­ni­cal state of war­fare be­tween the US and North Korea.

Trump, hold­ing forth at a free-flow­ing media brief­ing af­ter Kim de­parted, said the North Korean leader had be­fore him “an op­por­tu­nity like no other” to bring his coun­try back into the com­mu­nity of na­tions, if he fol­lows through on pledges to give up his nu­clear pro­gramme.

Trump an­nounced that he would be freez­ing US mil­i­tary “war games” with its ally South Korea, while ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two coun­tries con­tinue. He cast the de­ci­sion as a cost-sav­ing mea­sure, but North Korea has long ob­jected to the drills as a se­cu­rity threat.

Trump ac­knowl­edged that the timetable for denu­cle­ari­sa­tion is long, but said, “once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over”. The pres­i­dent ac­knowl­edged that US in­tel­li­gence on the North Korean nu­clear stock­pile is lim­ited, “prob­a­bly less there than any other coun­try”, he said. “But we have enough in­tel­li­gence to know that what they have is very sub­stan­tial.”

Trump brushed off ques­tions about his pub­lic praise for an au­to­crat whose peo­ple have been op­pressed for decades. He added that Otto Warm­bier, an Amer­i­can once de­tained in North Korea, “did not die in vain” be­cause his death brought about the nu­clear talks.

And he said Kim has ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to visit the White House – at the “ap­pro­pri­ate” time.

The two lead­ers promised in their joint doc­u­ment to “build a last­ing and sta­ble peace regime” on the Korean Penin­sula, repa­tri­ate re­mains of pris­on­ers of war, and those miss­ing in ac­tion from the Korean War.

Lan­guage on North Korea’s bombs was sim­i­lar to what the lead­ers of North and South Korea came up with at their own sum­mit in April. At the time, the Kore­ans faced crit­i­cism for es­sen­tially kick­ing the is­sue of North Korea’s nu­clear arsenal down the road to yes­ter­day’s Trump-Kim sum­mit. Trump and Kim even di­rectly ref­er­enced the so-called Pan­munjom Dec­la­ra­tion, which con­tained a weak commitment to denu­cle­ari­sa­tion and no specifics on how to achieve it.

The for­mal doc­u­ment-sign­ing fol­lowed a se­ries of meet­ings at a lux­ury Sin­ga­pore re­sort.

Af­ter the sign­ing, Trump said he ex­pected to “meet many times” in the fu­ture with Kim and, in re­sponse to ques­tions, said he “ab­so­lutely” would in­vite Kim to the White House. For his part, Kim hailed the “his­toric meet­ing” and said they “de­cided to leave the past be­hind”.

In a mo­ment that would never hap­pen in North Korea, re­porters be­gan shout­ing ques­tions to Trump and Kim af­ter they signed the doc­u­ment, in­clud­ing whether they had dis­cussed the case of Warm­bier, the Amer­i­can col­lege stu­dent who suf­fered brain dam­age while in North Korean cus­tody and died in June, 2017, days af­ter he re­turned home to Ohio. – African News Agency (ANA)

PIC­TURE: XIN­HUA/MIN­ISTRY OF COM­MU­NI­CA­TION AND IN­FOR­MA­TION OF SIN­GA­PORE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Leader of the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea Kim Jong-un, sec­ond left, and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, sec­ond right, sign a joint state­ment in Sin­ga­pore yes­ter­day.

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