Singapore Summit Postmortems
Whatever happens ahead for good, most likely ill, a US president and North Korean leader meeting for the first time ever was clearly unexpected earlier, notably memorable now.
The problem with achieving a durable bilateral agreement lies in Washington, not Pyongyang. Its government only pursued a nuclear deterrent because of justifiable fear of US aggression.
With the threat of it removed, the nation’s security guaranteed by America and China most of all, along with the world community, a high bar to cross, a powerful deterrent isn’t needed.
In Singapore, ABC News interviewed Trump after summit talks ended. Both sides reached a framework agreement and more not in it.
“They’re going to get rid of certain ballistic missile sites and various other things. We’re gonna put that out later. But we have the framework of getting ready to denuclearize North Korea,” said Trump.
There was no discussion about eliminating Washington’s regional nuclear umbrella – unrelated to protecting South Korea and Japan, he failed to explain.
It’s all about challenging China, Washington’s main regional adversary, North Korea a sideshow, a previous article explained.
Kim “ha(s) to get rid of” DPRK nuclear weapons…I think that they will. I really believe that he will. I’ve gotten to know him well in a short period of time,” said Trump.
“He’s committed to not starting (ballistic missile tests) again.” It’ll take years for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic programs. “They’re gonna start immediately.”
North Korea will announce additional steps to be taken “shortly.” Trump insists he’ll stop regional war games – most likely not once Pentagon commanders and bipartisan congressional hardliners demand they continue.
Nothing was discussed about pulling US troops out of South Korea – deployed there more with China in mind than North Korea. The same goes for US forces in Japan.
Asked what kind of security guarantees he gave Kim, Trump said “I don’t wanna talk about it specifically, but we’ve given him, he’s going to be happy.”
“I trust him,” Trump said about Kim. “I think he trusts me, and I trust him.” Inviting Kim to the White House may follow.
Separately, longtime North Korea skeptic Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised Kim’s pledge to denuclearize, saying:
“There is great meaning in chairman Kim’s clearly confirming to President Trump the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman said “(i)mplementing today’s and previous agreements reached, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, will require patience and support from the global community.”
South Korea wants clarification from Trump on suspending joint military exercises post-summit.
South Korean Lt. Col. Jennifer Lovett said “(i)n coordination with our ROK partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense (DOD) and/or Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said “(w)e will be there together with North Korea along the way.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stressed “we can only welcome the fact that an important step forward has been made. Of course, the devil is in the detail, and we have yet to delve into specifics. But the impulse, as far as we understand, has been given,” adding:
Moscow is ready to help craft and implement the deal that will further cooperation with North Korea. He hopes six-party talks will occur ahead, involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Washington.
John Bolton called for abandonment of North Korea’s nuclear weapons before easing US toughness.
China and Russia both urged a dual track approach earlier – DPRK denuclearization along with security guarantees, halting US regional military exercises, and a process for establishing regional peace. Kim wants a “phased and synchronous” approach, “action-for-action.”
China’s Foreign Minister Yang Yi called the Kim/Trump agreement something his government long called for.
“We hope that the two leaders will work to eliminate barriers, build mutual trust, overcome difficulties, and reach basic consensus and make substantive progress in promoting denuclearization and establishment of a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula,” he said, adding:
Beijing intends playing a constructive role in furthering peace on the Korean peninsula.
Iran warned Kim about US duplicity, an issue the DPRK understands well. “We are facing a man who revokes his signature while abroad,” justifiably calling Trump untrustworthy for pulling out of the JCPOA, President Hassan Rouhani’s spokesman said.
Smiles, handshakes, and positive statements in Singapore will fade ahead if promises made are broken, most unlikely by Kim.
It’s a major issue in dealing with Washington no matter which right wing of its duopoly government is in power.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”