US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed an agreement Tuesday to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but offered few specifics on how they intend to achieve that.
A joint statement signed at the end of their historic summit in Singapore gave few details on the denuclearization path, and also on a Washington assurance to provide security guarantees for its old foe if it changes its ways, according to Reuters.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” said the statement.
Trump said he expects the denuclearization process to start “very, very quickly”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials will hold follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date”, the statement said.
Political analysts said the summit had yielded only symbolic results and nothing tangible.
“It is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearization,” Anthony Ruggiero, senior fellow of Washington’s Foundation for Defense of Democracies think-tank, told Reuters.
“This looks like a restatement of where we left negotiations more than 10 years ago and not a major step forward.”
The document also made no mention of the international sanctions that have crippled North Korea’s economy for pursuing its nuclear weapons program.
Nor was there any reference to finally signing a peace treaty.
North Korea and the US were on opposite sides in the 1950-53 Korean War and are technically still at war, as the conflict, in which millions of people died, was concluded only with a truce.
But the joint statement did say the two sides had agreed to recovering the remains of prisoners of war and of those missing in action and repatriating them.
Li Nan, senior researcher at Pangoal, a Beijing-based Chinese public policy think-tank, said the meeting had only symbolic significance.
“It is too early to call it a turning point in North Korea-US relations,” Reuters quoted Li as saying.
Before signing what Trump described as a “comprehensive” document, Kim said the two leaders had a historic meeting “and decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change.”
Trump said he had formed a “very special bond” with Kim and that relationship with North Korea would be very different.
“People are going to be very impressed and people are going to be very happy and we are going to take care of a very dangerous problem for the world,” Trump said.
Asked whether he would invite Kim to the White House, Trump said: “Absolutely, I will.”
He called Kim “very smart” and a “very worthy, very hard negotiator.”
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