Three months ago, Kim Jong-un was an isolated leader of a poor nation. Today, he sat across the table with the leader of world’s most powerful country with in the backdrop of American and North Korean flags. A little over a month after the historic meet with the South Korean leader, Kim met Donald Trump at the Capella hotel on Sentosa island in Singpore, a first such meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. “It was not easy to get here,” Mr Kim said. “There were obstacles but we overcame them to be here,”. “That’s true”, added Trump.
Not long ago, the two leaders were trading nuclear war threats and calling each other “fat” and “dotart”, but less than an hour after the meeting Kim along with the American President declared that the two leaders now had an “excellent relationship”. They spent over 40 minutes in a one-on-one talk followed by a bilateral meeting accompanied with top officials. The talks between the two leaders further continued over a working lunch.
After the talks that Trump claimed went “better than anybody could imagine”, the POTUS and the North Korean leader signed an agreement where the Korean leader reaffirmed his April declaration of complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula while the US President committed security guarantee to the DPRK. The US and North Korea also agreed to recovering the remains of prisoners of war from the conflict between North and South Korea, and the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
The vague nature of the agreement was criticized by analysts while the China’s foreign ministry said that the international community could consider lifting economic sanctions on North Korea after the agreement. Further, Trump in his post summit press conference said international observers will be deployed to verify North Korea’s denuclearisation. “North Korea is already destroying a major missile engine testing site,” added Trump in his first lengthy press conference in over a year. The press conference ended with promises of lifting sanctions when “nukes are no longer a factor”, Kim’s White House visit at an appropriate time and Trump’s visit to Pyongyang.
The summit though was criticized for sidelining North Korea’s human rights crisis. The country has earned the title of “world’s biggest open prison camp” as the government controls everything, and actively spies on its citizens using a vast surveillance network. Trump, however, in his press conference claimed that human rights record of North Korea was discussed at length during the talks and that the summit is a big win for North Korean prisoners.