On June 12, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump became the first American president to meet with a North Korean head of state. The historic summit between Mr. Kim Jong Un and Mr. Trump, at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, was an attempt to end seven decades of open hostilities and establish diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The two leaders inaugurated the much-anticipated event with a handshake at 9:00 am. local time in front of a row of alternating American and North Korean flags, before commencing a one-on-one meeting behind closed doors. After about 45 minutes, they were joined by top aides from each country and then, shortly after, by additional representatives for an elaborate working lunch.
The five-hour rendezvous ended with the signing of a document in which “Mr. Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Along with destroying North Korea’s stockpile of 60 nuclear warheads, Mr. Kim promised to recover the remains of the over 7,600 U.S. prisoners of war and soldiers declared missing during the Korean War (1950-1953). In return, Mr. Trump agreed to stop the ongoing joint military exercises with political ally South Korea and establish diplomatic relations with North Korea. If Mr. Kim complies, the US president even promised to lift all trade sanctions, a move that will help strengthen North Korea’s struggling economy.
While the agreement is indeed a step in the right direction, there is much skepticism about Mr. Kim’s intention to keep his end of the bargain. North Korean leaders have, after all, failed to follow through on similar promises several times in the past. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the deal provides little detail on how the denuclearization will proceed. But given Mr. Kim’s declaration that the [the two leaders] had a “historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind” and that “the world will see a major change,” things will perhaps be different this time around!
Resources: cbsnews.com, the guardian.com,vox.com, cnn.com