Trump, Kim claim sum­mit suc­cess

De­tails scant on how any agree­ment will move for­ward

Journal Pioneer - - WORLD -

Claim­ing suc­cess at their whirl­wind sum­mit, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Singapore Tues­day, prais­ing their face-to-face progress to­ward rid­ding the Korean Penin­sula of nu­clear weapons. Yet Trump faced pointed ques­tions at home about whether he got lit­tle and gave away much - in­clud­ing an agree­ment to halt U.S. mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with South Korea. Meet­ing with staged cer­e­mony on a Singapore is­land, Trump and Kim had come to­gether for an un­prece­dented U.S.-North Korea meet­ing that seemed un­think­able months ear­lier when the two na­tions traded in­sults and 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 hopes of end­ing the North’s nu­clear pro­gram. Both lead­ers ex­pressed op­ti­mism through­out roughly five hours of talks, with Trump thank­ing Kim af­ter­ward “for tak­ing the first bold step to­ward 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.” Soon, Kim was on a plane headed home, while a clearly ebul­lient Trump held forth for more than an hour be­fore the press on what he styled as a his­toric achieve­ment to avert the prospect of nu­clear war. Along the way, Trump tossed out pro­nounce­ments on U.S. al­liances, hu­man rights, and the na­ture of the ac­cord that he and Kim had signed. Then he was off to Guam on the way back to the U.S. The de­tails of how and when the North would de­nu­cle­arize ap­pear yet to be de­ter­mined, as are the na­ture of the un­spec­i­fied “pro­tec­tions” Trump is pledg­ing to Kim and his govern­ment. Dur­ing his press con­fer­ence, Trump ac­knowl­edged that de­nu­cle­ariza­tion won’t hap­pen overnight. But he con­tended, “Once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over,” an anal­y­sis that has proven faulty in the past de­spite in­spec­tion ef­forts. Light on specifics, the Singapore ac­cord largely amounts to an agree­ment to con­tinue dis­cus­sions, echo­ing pre­vi­ous pub­lic state­ments and com­mit­ments. It does not, for in­stance, in­clude an agree­ment to take steps to­ward end­ing the tech­ni­cal state of war­fare be­tween the U.S. and North Korea. Nor does it in­clude a strik­ing con­ces­sion by Trump, who told re­porters he would freeze U.S. mil­i­tary “war games” with ally South Korea while ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the U.S. and the North con­tinue. Trump cast that de­ci­sion as a cost-sav­ing mea­sure, but also called the ex­er­cises “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” while talks con­tinue. North Korea has long ob­jected to the drills as a se­cu­rity threat. It was un­clear whether South Korea was aware of Trump’s de­ci­sion be­fore he an­nounced it pub­licly. U.S. Forces Korea said in a state­ment Tues­day it was un­aware of any pol­icy change. Trump phoned South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in af­ter leav­ing Singapore to brief him on the dis­cus­sions. Trump also said he’d ob­tained a sep­a­rate con­ces­sion from Kim to de­mol­ish a mis­sile en­gine test­ing site, though it was just one site of many con­nected to the nu­clear pro­gram.

AP PHOTO

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella re­sort on Sen­tosa Is­land Tues­day, in Singapore.

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