Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump sign denuclearization agreement in Singapore

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un look at each other before signing 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: Reuters

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a document on Tuesday, pledging to work toward "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

The historic agreement came after the two leaders held several meetings throughout the day.

In exchange for Kim handing over his nukes, Trump has committed to providing security for America's old enemy.

It is unclear exactly what Trump has promised Kim in terms of security. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to say on Monday whether guarantees might include withdrawing US troops from the Korean Peninsula.

"A lot of progress has been made," Trump said as he sat down with Kim to sign at the end of their summit in Singapore.

Trump said that the document was "pretty comprehensive" and the North Korean denuclearization process would be starting "very quickly".

Trump did not refer to the document as a treaty or agreement.

Kim, who was sitting alongside Trump, said through a translator, "We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind and we are about to sign a historic document."

The pair promised in their document to "build a lasting and stable peace regime" on the Korean Peninsula and to repatriate remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action during the Korean War.

It also reaffirmed the Panmunjom Declaration, signed after the North and South Korean leaders met on April 27, which stated the North Korea committed to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials would hold follow-up negotiations "at the earliest possible date", the statement also said.

'Special bond'

After the meeting, Trump said that he had formed a "special bond" with Kim and the relationship with North Korea would be very different.

Asked whether he would invite Kim to the White House, Trump said: "Absolutely, I will."

Trump said he is willing to meet with Kim "many times" in the process.

He also called Kim "a very worthy, very hard negotiator" and "a very talented man" who "loved his country very much".

Few specifics

But the broad agreement was light on specifics, largely reiterating previous public statements and past commitments.

Political analysts said that the summit had yielded only symbolic results and nothing tangible.

"It is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearization," said Anthony Ruggiero, senior fellow of Washington's Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. "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 United States 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.

China, the third party to the truce, said that it hoped North Korea and the United States could reach a basic consensus on denuclearization.

"At the same time, there needs to be a peace mechanism for the peninsula to resolve North Korea's reasonable security concerns," China's top diplomat, State Councilor Wang Yi, told reporters in Beijing.

If the joint statement does lead to a lasting detente, it could fundamentally change the security landscape of Northeast Asia, just as former US President Richard Nixon visit to Beijing in 1972 led to the transformation of China.

But 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," Li said.
 


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