Trump, Kim praise historic summit

By Chen Weihua in Singapore and Zhou Jin in Beijing | chinadaily.com.cn
Updated: June 12, 2018
US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un sign documents that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

US President Donald Trump and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong-un praised their historic summit on Tuesday in Singapore, which is aimed at achieving peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

A document signed after the summit by the two leaders affirmed Kim's commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and Trump's commitment to provide security guarantees to the DPRK.

The document also stated that the US and the DPRK commit to establish new relations and build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

"We are prepared to start a new history and we are ready to write a new chapter between our nations," Trump told a press conference after the summit, in a speech that was full of lofty words and self-complacency.

"People thought this could never take place. It is now taking place. It's a very great day and it's a very great moment in the history of the world," he said.

Recalling the Korean War from 1950-1953, Trump said that "now we can all have hope that it will end soon.

"The past does not have to define the future… History has proven over and over again that adversaries can indeed become friends," Trump said.

Kim, speaking Korean, said after the signing ceremony that "we have a historic meeting, and decide to leave the past behind."

"The world will see a major change," said Kim, who left Singapore in the afternoon after the document was signed.

Before his private session with Trump in the morning, Kim said, "the way to come to here was not easy ... The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward but we overcame all of them and we are here today."

Trump, who is scheduled to leave in the evening around 8 pm, said the two sides have agreed to vigorous negotiation for the implementation of the agreement as soon as possible. He said that sanctions will remain until nukes are no longer a factor.

Trump indicated that at an appropriate time he is looking forward to visiting Pyongyang and inviting Kim to visit the White House.

The US president also praised the role China and President Xi Jinping have played.

The document stated the US and DPRK have committed to establishing new relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

The US and the DPRK will join efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, according to the document.

The two sides also reaffirmed the Panmunjom Declaration on April 27, where the DPRK committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the peninsula.

According to the document, the two sides have also committed to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

Trump told the press that the summit went better than anybody had predicted, adding that the US relations with DPRK will be very different and the situation on the Korean Peninsula will be very different.

"Both sides will be very impressed with the results," Trump said.

Asked if the denuclearization will start, Trump said "we will start that process very, quickly, very very quickly."

The two leaders started their historic summit on Tuesday morning at the Capella hotel in Sentosa on an optimistic note.

China hopes the meeting between Washington and Pyongyang will result in substantive steps toward denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.

It is important and positive for the top leaders of the two countries to sit down and conduct equal talks , which is creating a new history, Wang said. China welcomes and supports the meeting and hopes the two leaders will avoid disruptions, build mutual trust and overcome difficulties, he said.

China is willing to see all relevant parties make efforts toward denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the peninsula, he said, adding that China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

Right after they sat down in the Capella hotel for the one-on-one session, Trump said the summit will be a tremendous success, adding "we will have a terrific relationship, no doubt".

"The way to come to here was not easy," Kim said. "The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward but we overcame all of them and we are here today."

Trump replied, "That's great."

US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un walk after lunch at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

The two shook hands and exchanged words at 9:04 am after arriving at the hotel for the first summit between leaders of the two countries.

The two engaged in a private session, accompanied by only translators. Then an expanded session was held with the attendance of their advisors. A working lunch followed.

On Monday, diplomats from both countries continued their discussions whole day trying to narrow their differences on key issues.

The US has tamped down the previous high expectation of a swift denuclearization and instead talked about a process that will take time. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted on Monday that the ultimate goal is for a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Pompeo said the US will offer security guarantees but gave no details. The DPRK has concerns over issues such as the signing of a peace treaty to end the 1950-1953 Korean War, the lift of economic sanctions, US troop reductions in South Korea and a cutting of US-South Korea joint military drills on the peninsula.

"The fact that is happening at all reflects both sides' interests in buying time, capping the risk of military conflict, and expanding the problem beyond the intractable symptom of denuclearization to the underlying mutual mistrust caused by seven decades of adversarial relations," said Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on US-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Kupchan, a professor at Georgetown University and a former Obama administration official, said he is cautiously hopeful that the summit will set the stage for a breakthrough.

"Bold moves of this sort are often needed to push long-standing rivalries toward rapprochement," he said.

"My main concern is that neither side has undertaken the necessary preparations for this meeting. I also worry that the volatile and unpredictable nature of both leaders could make a meaningful breakthrough difficult to sustain. Both Trump and Kim are known for changing their minds, so only time will tell whether any progress achieved at the summit is sustainable," said Kupchan, author of the book How Enemies Become Friends.

"My best guess is that the leaders will declare that they have reached a broad agreement to move forward toward a peace treaty, normalization, and denuclearization. They will then task their teams to turn their agreement into reality. That is when the hard work will begin — and the chances of failure go up significantly," he said.

Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, said Trump has accomplished more on North Korea to date than any US president, citing the facts of China tightening sanctions, the suspension of DPRK missile and nuclear tests, the release of US prisoners and Kim’s reaching out to China, South Korea, Russia and US diplomatically.

"However the summit goes, that's progress," he said in a tweet on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong-un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.[Photo/Agencies]