- Trump: Meeting with North Korea leader had gone ‘better than anyone could imagine’
- U.S. President and North Korean leader spoke in private for nearly 40 minutes
- Mr Kim said ‘it was not easy to get here’ before historic first meeting
- Trump: North Korean denuclearisation will start ‘very quickly’
- US says it will quit war games in the region in major concession
Donald Trump and Kim Jong un shared a historic handshake before pledging to ‘completely denuclearise’ the Korean Peninsula.
Trump, speaking after the landmark summit in Singapore, said both leaders were “prepared to start a new history and write a new chapter between our nations”.
“He reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” Trump told a news conference.
The commitment came at the expense of a major concession by Mr Trump, who said the US would stop all war games in the region.
But, in a blow to Trump, much global reaction focused on the lack of substance contained in the agreement especially as to how North Korea planned to denuclearise and whether that process would be open and transparent.
Devil in the detail
Trump’s press conference was, at times, a rambling affair and he regularly strayed off-script.
When asked to give specific details of the agreement, the US President said he expected the denuclearisation process to start ‘very, very quickly’ and that he would lift sanctions when ‘nukes’ were no longer an issue.
Trump, who said international sanctions on Pyongyang would stay in place for now, claimed Kim made an additional commitment to destroying a major engine-testing site used for missiles.
He also said that Kim had committed to the process of being denuclearised, a key demand of the US ahead of the summit.
However, when pressed as to how he would verify that Kim’s regime was keeping its side of the bargain, Trump simply replied that the process would be verified, and that the verification ‘will involve having a lot of people in North Korea’.
He then added he had been happy to sign the agreement because his deal-making instinct told him it was the right thing to do: ‘I know when somebody wants to deal … I just feel, my instinct, my talent,” he said. ‘I think he wants to make a deal. We will know very soon because the negotiations are continuing.’
Asked if there were any transcripts from the meeting that could verify Kim’s commitment, Trump said: ‘I don’t need to verify as I have one of the great memories of all time.’
He added: ‘I will do anything to make the world a safer place’.
Several political analysts said the summit had yielded symbolic, rather than tangible, results.
‘It is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearisation,’ said Anthony Ruggiero, senior fellow of Washington’s Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. ‘This looks like a restatement of where we left negotiations more than 10 years ago and not a major step forward.’
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the Nobel Peace-prize winning anti-nuclear campaign group ICAN, said: ‘We support diplomacy and peaceful solutions. But there is no agreement on nuclear disarmament and this all looked more like a big welcome party to the nuclear-armed club.’
Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia, said: ‘Our negotiators achieved nothing new – not one new concession in exchange for legitimisation of North Korean dictator.’
Trump supporters, however, have said the meeting – which has been months in the making – is more than symbolic and demonstrates North Korea is taking the first steps to coming in from the cold.
RE-WATCH TRUMP’S PRESS CONFERENCE FROM YAHOO UK’S FACEBOOK PAGE:
Legitimising a despot?
One of the main criticisms being levelled at Mr Trump is that the meeting will be used by Kim to legitimise his autocratic regime back at home – something previous US presidents have been at pains to afford.
When confronted by two journalists in the press conference as to whether the images of Trump and Kim together was betrayal of those being held in gulags, Mr Trump snapped back saying those prisoners would be ‘great winners’.
IN PICTURES: DONALD TRUMP MEETS KIM JONG-UN IN HISTORIC SUMMIT
He said: ‘Not much I can do right now. I think at a certain point he’s [Kim] going to do something about it.
“I think they are one of the great winners today – that large group of people that you’re talking about. I think ultimately they are going to be one of the great winners as a group.”
What they said
The pair met at a luxury hotel on Sentosa island and signed a deal in which they vowed to begin a new era of relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Mr Trump said after his meeting with Kim: ‘We have developed a very special bond’, adding he would ‘absolutely’ invite the North Korean leader to the White House.
Mr Kim said the ‘world will see a major change’ and that he and Mr Trump had ‘decided to leave the past behind’.
The deal, described by Mr Trump as a ‘very important document, a pretty comprehensive document’, states the two countries will work towards building a ‘lasting and stable peace’ in the region.
Mr Trump also committed to providing ‘security guarantees’ for North Korea.
The key points of the document are:
1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
After their scheduled appearance in front of the cameras, the men then spoke together for 38 minutes, with no one else in the room except interpreters.
Mr Trump said: “We’re going to have a great discussion and a terrific relationship.”
Mr Kim said through an interpreter that it “was not easy to get here” and that there “were obstacles but we overcame them to be here”.
Later, Mr Trump said the meeting had gone “better than anybody could imagine”.
The leaders emerged from a working lunch and strolled together down a paved walkway before stopping and posing before the waiting news media.
Mr Trump said the meeting is “going great. We had a really fantastic meeting”.
He added that there has been “a lot of progress. Really very positive. I think better than anybody could imagine.”
Mr Trump said the one-on-one meeting was “very, very good” and that the two have an “excellent relationship”.
The pair also had a larger meeting with their aides.
Mr Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Mr Kim and his team.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted an image of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un standing together on a balcony.
She also posted an image of the leaders back at a table for talks with an expanded group of advisers.
A video shared by the US Department of State showed Trump shaking Kim’s hand over the table.
The president said: “Mr Chairman, it’s a great honour to be with you and I know we’ll have tremendous success together and we’ll solve a big problem – a big dilemma – that until this point has been unable to be solved, and working together we’ll get it taken care of.”
The two men later signed a document in front of the cameras. Mr Trump said its contents would be revealed at a press conference.
Mr Trump said the North Korean denuclearisation process would be starting “very quickly”.
He added: “We’ve had a really great time together. We’re both very honoured to sign the document. A lot of goodwill went into this and a lot of work.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together today – a very intensive time.’
Mr Kim said: “We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change. I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Trump.”
Six courses for two leaders
Earlier, Mr Trump and Mr Kim enjoyed a six-course meal with their negotiating teams.
At the beginning of the lunch, the US president told reporters: “Get a good picture everybody so we look nice and handsome and thin. Perfect.”
For starters, the delegations were served prawn cocktail and avocado salad, as well as green mango kerabu, a Malaysian rice dish, with honey lime dressing and fresh octopus, followed by a Korean stuffed cucumber.
The main course was made up up of beef short rib confit and dauphinois potatoes and steamed broccolini, with a red wine sauce.
Another main course was sweet and sour crispy pork.
The menu was released by the White House and included three deserts – dark chocolate tartlet ganache, Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream with cherry coulis, and Tropezienne, a French pastry.