Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Singapore City, Singapore (4E) – As the Republicans are wont to say, the heavily-hyped meet-and-greet between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in Singapore yesterday was a “nothing burger” that achieved nothing but feel good photo-ops and a nothing vow by North Korea to “denuclearize.”
The joint declaration signed by both men at the end of their four hour-long encounter confirmed nothing concrete had been achieved, which was expected, but which was nonetheless a depressing ending to a meeting that might have achieved something more substantive if Trump weren’t worried about the optics.
Trump later announced he was cancelling U.S. military exercises with South Korea without receiving anything in return from Kim. It was a major concession to North Korea — and a geopolitical win for Kim — that shocked both Washington and the Pentagon.
The joint declaration signed by both men made no new breakthroughs and only rehashed tired and worn missives that were widely expected. It said the U.S. and North Korea “commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.” In addition, both countries “will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”
Kim and Trump reaffirmed the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, in which North Korea “commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” No definition of denuclearization was made, however.
Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” In return, Trump “commits to provide security guarantees” to North Korea.
U.S. negotiators led by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korea commit to hold follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes” of summit. The declaration ended with Kim and Trump committing “to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.”
The optics at the event was evidently crafted to burnish the stature of each leader. In his usual Trumpian style, Trump said he was “honored” to meet Kim and predicted a “terrific relationship” with the dictator. On the other hand, Kim cited the two countries’ history of war and bitterness, but noted their meeting showed they could overcome the past.
“The way to come to here was not easy,” said Kim during the sit down with Trump. “The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward but we overcame all of them and we are here today.” In response, Trump only said, “That’s true.”
The one-on-one talks itself lasted for all of 48 minutes. Later, Trump said his historic summit with Kim went “very, very good” and predicted an eventual agreement on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons. “Excellent relationship,” he said as he emerged from the talks.
“Working together, we’ll get it taken care of,” said Trump, claiming he could “solve a big problem, a big dilemma” with Kim.
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