23 February 2019

Saturday, 13:33



The US President and the North Korean leader held their first face-to-face meeting



The first ever meeting between the incumbent US president and the leader of North Korea was held in Singapore. Main topic of the summit was nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

CNN showed the arrival of both leaders, where one can see that Kim Jong-un gets out of his car with a black folder in his hands.

Unlike his North Korean colleague, Trump did not hold anything in his hands.

The historic summit was almost cancelled. After both sides agreed to meet, Trump suddenly announced that it would not take place because he considers it “irrelevant” amidst “hostile” statements of the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Earlier, the ministry sharply criticised military exercises of the US and South Korea and threatened Washington with a nuclear war. North Korea’s reaction to Trump’s statement was moderate, although the country stated its readiness for negotiations.

Later the negotiations on holding the summit were resumed. Parties agreed that the summit would be held on June 12 in Singapore, as originally planned.

It took place at the five-star hotel Capella on the resort island of Sentosa. Before the actual meeting, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump exchanged a historic handshake.

Trump said he hoped for the success of the talks and did not doubt that the US relationship with Pyongyang would be “terrific.”

Leader Kim added that the pair had overcome many “obstacles” to make it to the summit.

Both leaders spent almost 50 minutes for one-on-one (only interpreters were allowed) talks. At the end, Trump said that the meeting with Kim Jong-un was “very, very good” and that they had “excellent relationships”. Then they were joined by advisors and high-ranking officials from both delegations: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Deputy Chairman of the Workers' Party of North Korea (WPNK) Kim Yong-chol, North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Yong-ho and Deputy Chairman of the Central Committee of the WPNK Li Su-yong.

After the extended meeting, Trump and Kim Jong-un came out smiling, and shook hands again. Experts note that both Trump and Kim, despite expectations, looked quite relaxed, sitting next to each other.


What did they discuss?

Discussions were focused on new relations between the countries, the establishment of peace and denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has been internationally isolated over the past decades because of human rights violations, as well as attempts to acquire nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles in violation of international law.

The US wants North Korea to abandon its nuclear development program and begin the process of transferring warheads to a third party.

Pyongyang’s requirements are still unclear. Before the meeting, the North Korean news agency KCNA stated that it was planned to “establish new relations between North Korea and the United States in accordance with the requirements of the changed era,” peace with South Korea and nuclear disarmament.

Experts believed that, in response to its own disarmament, North Korea might require similar steps from South Korea.

Washington earlier stated gradual withdrawal of international sanctions against Pyongyang and investments in the North Korean economy. Kim Jong-un, in his address to the nation earlier this year, said that the country planned to make economic development a priority.


“New start”

Following the meeting, the parties signed a joint document. Mr. Trump said that both sides would be impressed with results. In turn, Kim Jong-un also called the final document “a new start”.

“The signing of this historic document... heralds a new start. We will see great changes,” he said.

“President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” the document reads.

It is also indicated that the US “undertakes the provision of security guarantees to North Korea”, and Chairman Kim Jong-un “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to the completion of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

Kim Jong-un ignored the questions of journalists about nuclear disarmament, although he was asked three times if he would give up nuclear weapons.

But Trump promised to begin the process of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula very quickly. “The process will begin very, very fast,” the American leader said to journalists. The US president said he was ready to invite the North Korean leader to Washington. He added that he was proud of the achievements of the summit. “We will solve a very big and dangerous problem,” Trump added. He also noted that Washington and Pyongyang are developing “special relations”. He called Kim Jong-un “a very talented person” and “a very clever negotiator.” Trump also stressed that North Korea leader “loves his country very much.”

The Singapore summit can be considered a diplomatic miracle, given that less than a year ago the same leaders exchanged “courtesies”, which one would hardly hear from such a high state level.