Culture

Kim Summit Produces High Hopes, Few Details

Kim Summit Produces High Hopes, Few Details”

Many North Korea watchers have noted that the Singapore summit agreement lacks substance, despite Trump touting it as "very comprehensive".

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was not surprised by President Donald Trump's call to end USA military exercises with South Korea and had been consulted beforehand, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

There are those who will laud it for establishing a seemingly new approach to US-North Korea relations, one that is more co-operative than confrontational. The president wants the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of his nuclear weapons program.

The previous day US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters he did not believe that troop levels were on the agenda. "I'm very open-minded to security agreements and to economic incentives to North Korea".

What is it that the United States and North Korea are actually committing to?

Kim reaffirmed that he would "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", though there was no indication the two men had agreed on what that would mean. Tuesday's statement made no mention of inspectors.

Trump phoned South Korean President Moon Jae-in after leaving Singapore to brief him on the discussions.

This certainly could be the catalyst needed on both sides to take the process further than where we have been able to get to before, but it will still be a negotiation, and Kim Jong-un's diplomatic debut over the past few months, culminating in his incredible reception in Singapore, has increased North Korea's confidence and negotiating power.

Sen. Lindsey Graham does not have an issue with halting joint military exercises between the USA and South Korea while discussions with North Korea continue.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Trump administration, said that "success will be judged on whether it can eliminate Kim's nuclear weapons and verify they are gone".

"At best this is a tentative beginning down a road that will take many years, " he said by phone.

Trump made the comments about Warmbier after being pressed to expand on his comment that Kim, who leads a country known for many of its human rights abuses, was a "very talented" leader.

Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, was puzzled, too, that the statement included no formalized commitment to the nuclear and missile test freezes that Kim has already unilaterally announced.

Trump downplayed Beijing's role in the denuclearization process.

Before the summit, several commentators wondered how the travel-shy Kim was going to get to Singapore, having not flown such a distance since coming to power in December 2011.

The optimistic summit was a remarkable change in dynamics from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening "fire and fury" against Kim, who in turn labelled the President a "mentally deranged United States dotard". Still, he offered no indication he planned to give up his arsenal, which he has called a "treasured sword".

And as they emerged from the meal for a brief stroll together, Trump appeared to delight in showing his North Korean counterpart the interior of "The Beast", the famed USA presidential limousine known for its high-tech fortifications. In agreeing to the summit, Trump risked granting Kim his long-sought recognition on the world stage in hopes of ending the North's nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018.



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