Adversaries can become friends: Trump hails meeting with Kim

Clay Curtis
June 14, 2018

Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after their historic meeting. "This is not about Dennis Rodman being the greatest person in the world that lead these two people together". 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.

Trump rejected the idea that the USA was the loser in the talks.

China welcomed Trump's decision to stop the "war games" on the Korean Peninsula, referring to joint military exercises the United States conducts with South Korea.

But in an extraordinary media conference later, Mr Trump announced details are not in the paper. "But despite that, once you start the process it means it's pretty much over".

"The next steps should be ministerial meetings, working group meetings next week", said Tom Countryman, former USA assistant secretary of state for worldwide security and non-proliferation. Nor does it include a striking concession by Trump, who told reporters he would freeze US military "war games" with ally South Korea while negotiations between the USA and the North continue. Trump cast that decision as a cost-saving measure, but also called the exercises "inappropriate" while talks continue. At the time, North Korea had begun turning its nuclear fuel into warheads. And he mentioned that the exercises require US bombers to fly in six-and-a-half hours from Guam, where they are stationed. "It's possible. We're dealing at a high level, a lot of things can change a lot of things are possible", Trump told him.

Trump's snap judgment fulfilled his prediction before the June 12 summit that he would be able to evaluate Kim's intentions "within the first minute" of meeting him.

"The United States and North Korea have been in a state of antagonism for more than half a century", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

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However, the New Yorker noted that the brief agreement didn't meet standards previously sought by the USA, in that North Korea's end of the bargain did not include that their denuclearization would be verifiable or irreversible. The neighbors, which fought together during the Korean War, had grown apart past year after China backed United Nations sanctions crimping North Korea's energy imports and sources of foreign cash to pressure it to halt its nuclear and missile tests. But the one-page document contains few specifics on how that goal would be achieved.

He also said he wanted to bring USA troops home - although he did not specify a timeframe.

Tim Miller, a GOP consultant who worked on the 2016 presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said he doubts that North Korea will matter much to voters. First, after two decades of North Korean leaders trying to lure a USA president to give de facto recognition to the regime for its nuclear weapons achievement, Kim struck gold.

"This new commitment to denuclearize is actually more vague and even weaker than the 2005 six-party joint statement and the 1992 inter-Korean Joint Denuclearization Declaration", said Duyeon Kim, a research fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum, describing two major diplomatic statements. Trump has dangled the prospect of economic investment in the North as a sweetener for giving up its nuclear weapons.

In the two weeks following that summit, home prices rose by more than 50%, according to a local real estate agent interviewed by NPR. It followed a public greeting, one-on-one meeting, and expanded bilateral meeting.

Following the summit, Trump sat down with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos and touted the great love North Koreans have for their leader.

A confident leader strode into the Singapore summit and won. Then of course there is the fact that simply getting a meeting with the USA president was an enormous coup for Kim Jong-un, a hereditary dictator running a regime that commits appalling human rights abuses.

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