By the Gazette Editorial Board
Without allegedly receiving concrete and reciprocal pledges, US President Donald Trump is said to have offered major concessions to North Korea after his historical meeting with its leader Kim Jong-un.
Emerging from the meeting held in a luxury hotel in Singapore, Trump pledged to end joint military games with South Korea. He, moreover, described these games as ‘provocative’ and ‘tremendously expensive’.
He said he also hoped to “bring home” the 32,000 US troops stationed in South Korea at some point in the future, but acknowledged such a move was not “part of the equation right now”.
Trump seemed to have appreciated that North Korea, which had already begun dismantling a major missile engine testing site, needed time to conclude denuclearisation.
The world held its breath in agony when – weeks before the historical summit would take place – these war games provoked the ire of the North Korean leader and prompted him to threaten that he would not leave Pyongyang on June 12.
Retaliating, the US President tweeted that he had no wish any longer to hold such a summit as long as the North Koreans refused to stop using tough language and threats.
Fortunately, before little time had passed the world was encouraged to heave a deep sigh of relief by a statement tweeted by Trump that preparations to meet the North Korean leader were working out well.
Regardless of the contradictory assessments of Trump-Kim summit, the big success the two leaders seem to have achieved was the construction of mutual trust following their ceremonial hand-shake and their ‘constructive’ talks in Singapore.
Mr Trump told reporters that he trusted Mr Kim and that he believed the North Korean leader was sincere about his desire for denuclearisation.
In a press conference lasting more than an hour, Trump said the meetings went “better than anybody could have expected”. The US President also described his meeting with Kim as ‘going great’ and that they had a really fantastic meeting.
Kim had also asserted that Trump was different from his predecessors, who were not sincere in their peaceful approach to Pyongyang.
Kim would not praise Trump and his qualities without that kind of mutual trust between them. Reciprocating, Trump praised Kim as “very talented”.
Building trust with each other among the world’s leaders can make the world less volatile and more co-operative. Trust is the catalyst of successful diplomacy.
SEOUL, June 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearization, the U.S. secretary of state said on Thursday, apparently contradicting the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s summit would be phased and reciprocal.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their Singapore meeting that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.
“President Trump has been incredibly clear about the sequencing of denuclearisation and relief from the sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters after meeting South Korea’s president and Japan’s foreign minister in Seoul.
“We are going to get complete denuclearisation; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” he said.
North Korean state media reported on Wednesday Kim and Trump had recognised the principle of “step-by-step and simultaneous action” to achieve peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.
The summit statement provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up its nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified.
Skeptics of how much the meeting achieved pointed to the North Korean leadership’s long-held view that nuclear weapons are a bulwark against what it fears are U.S. plans to overthrow it and unite the Korean peninsula.
However, South Korean President Moon Jae-In said the world, through the summit, had escaped the threat of war, echoing Trump’s upbeat assessment of his meeting with Kim.
“There have been many analyses on the outcome of the summit but I think what’s most important was that the people of the world, including those in the United States, Japan and Koreans, have all been able to escape the threat of war, nuclear weapons and missiles,” Moon told Pompeo.
Pompeo insisted Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one”.
Kim Jong Un understood getting rid of his nuclear arsenal needed to be done quickly and there would only be relief from stringent U.N. sanctions on North Korea after its “complete denuclearisation”, Pompeo said.
SINGAPORE, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - US sanctions on North Korea will remain in place despite the signing of a new agreement between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US president told journalists in Singapore on Tuesday.
Trump’s statement came just hours after the two leaders signed a pact which included a pledge to work towards “complete denuclearisation” on the Korean peninsula.
Trump said he believed his North Korean counterpart would live up to the agreement. But “in the meantime the sanctions will remain in effect,” he said.
The US president said the summit marked a “great moment in the history of the world”.
The agreement with North Korea did not currently envision removing the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea.
However, Mr Trump signalled he favoured a long-term plan to reduce US troop numbers from South Korea and said the US “will be stopping the war games” - a reference to the regular US joint military exercises with South Korea, and a huge concession to the North Korean leader.
“We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money. It is very provocative,” he said.
The president also stressed that denuclearisation would be verifiable by international and US experts.
The leaders have agreed to have follow-on negotiations led by Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, and a senior North Korean official.
SINGAPORE, June 11, 2018 (News Wires) - US President Donald Trump said on Monday his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore could “work out very nicely” as officials from both countries met to narrow differences on how to end a nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula.
Kim and Trump arrived in the tropical city-state on Sunday for the first ever face-to-face meeting by leaders of two countries that have been enemies since the 1950-1953 Korean War.
With gaps remaining over what denuclearisation would entail, officials from both sides held two hours of talks to push the agenda forward ahead of Tuesday’s summit.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the meetings were “substantive and detailed” but there was no immediate word on what the outcome was.
Trump sounded a positive note in a lunch meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“We’ve got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I just think it’s going to work out very nicely,” Trump said.
He also told Lee: “We appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and friendship...You’re my friend.”
Trump and Kim are staying in separate hotels in the famous Orchard Road area of Singapore, dotted with high-rise luxury apartment blocks, offices and glittering shopping malls. Traffic was held up in the steamy midday sun and scores of bystanders were penned in by police when Trump went to meet Lee.
Similar scenes were seen on Sunday when Kim and Trump arrived in the city, and when Kim went to meet Lee. Entry to their hotels is extremely restricted.
Commenting for the first time on the summit, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency earlier said the two sides would exchange “wide-ranging and profound views” to re-set relations. It heralded the summit as part of a “changed era”.
Discussions would focus on “the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern,” KCNA said.
In the lead up to the summit, North Korea rejected any unilateral nuclear disarmament, and KCNA’s reference to denuclearisation of the peninsula has historically meant that Pyongyang wants the United States to remove its “nuclear umbrella” protecting South Korea and Japan.
Pompeo said in an earlier tweet that Washington was “committed to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.
Many experts on North Korea, one of the most insular and unpredictable countries in the world, remain skeptical Kim will ever completely abandon nuclear weapons. They believe Kim’s latest engagement is aimed at getting the United States to ease the crippling sanctions that have squeezed the impoverished country.
A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US side was entering the talks with a sense of optimism and an equal dose of scepticism given North Korea’s long history of developing nuclear weapons.
“We will not be surprised by any scenario,” said the official.
The official said Trump and Kim would hold a one-on-one meeting on Tuesday that could last up to two hours. He described it as a “get to know you plus” meeting.
Later, a meeting including officials could last another hour.
The summit’s venue is the Capella hotel on Sentosa, a resort island off Singapore’s port with luxury hotels, a Universal Studios theme park and man-made beaches.
Trump, speaking in Canada on Saturday, said any agreement at the summit would be “spur of the moment,” underscoring the uncertain outcome of what he called a “mission of peace”.
He initially touted the potential for a grand bargain with North Korea to rid itself of a nuclear missile program that has advanced rapidly to threaten the United States.
But he has since lowered expectations, backing away from an original demand for North Korea’s swift denuclearisation.
He has said the talks would be more about starting a relationship with Kim for a negotiating process that would take more than one summit.
SINGAPORE, June 10, 2018 (News Wires) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un landed in Singapore on Sunday, Singapore's Straits Times reported, ahead of a summit with US President Donald Trump that could end a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and transform his impoverished country.
Kim arrived in a Air China 747 that touched down at Changi Airport, Straits Times said.
Kim is set to meet Tuesday with Trump in what's shaping up to be one of the most unusual summits in modern history.
Trump is scheduled to arrive at Singapore's Paya Lebar Airbase at 8:35 pm on Sunday and go to the Shangri-La Hotel, according to the
Despite the initial high stakes of a meeting meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-each-other meeting. He has also raised the possibility of further summits.
LA MALBAIE, Quebec, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - President Donald Trump says his upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un (kim jawng oon) is a "one-time shot" for the North Korean leader.
Trump says at a news conference in Canada before leaving for that historic meeting in Singapore that he thinks "it's going to work out very well."
He tells reporters at the Group of Seven gathering with world leaders that it's "so far, so good" as he heads into what he calls "unknown territory in the truest sense."
But Trump is sounding optimistic and says he believes Kim is prepared to do "something very positive for his people, for himself, his family."
Trump says he's about to undertake what he's calling a "mission of peace."
The summit is set for Tuesday.