What a difference a year makes. In the last few hours Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have signed a document committing to “work towards the complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
The four key points from the Trump-Kim Declaration, signed during their summit in Singapore, are being reported as follows:
- The United States and the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
- The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
- Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
- The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
President Trump, sitting alongside the Korean dictator, told reporters, “We’re very proud of what happened today. Our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean peninsula will be a much different situation than it has in the past.”
Kim said through a translator, “We’ve decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change.” “Thank you very much, that was fantastic,” Trump told Kim as they smiled and shook hands.
Trump added that he would “absolutely” invite Kim to the White House and that denuclearization would start “very quickly” and that he had a “special bond” with the Korean dictator. The warm words were in remarkable contrast to the stinging words the President had recently for the U.S.’s traditional allies at the G7 Summit.
The response from media to the ‘Summit of the Century’ has been mixed. Few would deny that today’s meeting is a historic occasion but some commentators are questioning how different today’s agreement is from commitments made by the North Korean leader earlier in the year and lament that today’s statements don’t include a concrete and immediate commitment to denuclearize. Others note that President Obama was largely castigated for suggesting a meeting with the Korean leader while Trump is being hailed as a victor by some right wing news services.
Both sides will likely claim victories here. Both leaders have made gains but both have also made concessions. We are undoubtedly in a better place than 12 months ago, a time of dangerously inflammatory rhetoric, and yet, given their erratic natures who is to say this won’t all blow up in a Twitter tantrum in coming weeks or months.
Trump took one hour of questions from the world’s media soon after the declaration was signed. Check out his comments here.