North pledges to move towards denuclearisation; U.S. assures its old foe of security guarantees
U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged at a historic summit on Tuesday to move towards complete denuclearisation, while the U.S. promised its old foe security guarantees.
The start of negotiations, aimed at banishing what Mr. Trump described as North Korea’s “very substantial” nuclear arsenal, could have far-reaching ramifications for the region, and in one of the biggest surprises of the day, Mr. Trump said he would stop military exercises with old ally South Korea.
But Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim gave few other specifics in a joint statement signed at the end of their summit in Singapore, and several analysts cast doubt on how effective the agreement would prove to be in the long run at getting North Korea to give up its cherished nuclear weapons.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The two leaders had appeared cautious and serious when they arrived for the summit at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa, a resort island with luxury hotels, a casino and a Universal Studios theme park.
After a handshake, they were soon smiling and holding each other by the arm, before Mr. Trump guided Mr. Kim to a library, where they met with only their interpreters. Mr. Trump had said on Saturday that he would know within a minute of meeting Mr. Kim whether he would reach a deal.
Mr. Trump later told a news conference that he expected the denuclearisation process to start “very, very quickly”, and it would be verified by “having a lot of people in North Korea.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials would hold follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date,” the statement said.
Despite Mr. Kim announcing that North Korea was destroying a major missile engine-testing site, Mr. Trump said sanctions on North Korea would stay in place for now. Earlier, Mr. Kim said he and Mr. Trump had “decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change.”
‘The past doesn’t have to be the future’
When U.S. President Donald Trump sat down to make the case for peace to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, he rolled out a four-minute video starring the two leaders.
The video plays over a pulsing orchestral score, and appears to be composed almost entirely of generic stock footage and old news clips, including images of two smiling.
At one point, it features a montage with babies and car factories, suggesting what a more prosperous future for North Korea could look like if it agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal. “The past doesn’t have to be the future,” says a narrator.
Then later, the narrator says, “a new world can begin today,” as an animated sequence suggests what North Korea could look like from space if it was as brightly lit up at night as the far more prosperous South Korea.
At times, the video appeared to address Mr. Kim directly, suggesting he could make a choice that would open North Korea to new investment.