News ID: 216553
Published: 0403 GMT June 12, 2018

Trump, Kim hail historic summit; questions over way forward

Trump, Kim hail historic summit; questions over way forward
Reuters

International Desk

 US will lift sanctions after nukes “are no longer a factor”

Iran warns Trump could cancel deal before getting home

Trump wants  'real deal' with Iran

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hailed their historic summit Tuesday as a breakthrough in relations between Cold War foes, but the agreement they produced contained few details about the key issue of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

The extraordinary and unprecedented encounter in Singapore saw the leader of the world's most powerful democracy shake hands with the third generation scion of the country’s leadership, standing as equals in front of their nations' flags.

Kim agreed to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", a stock phrase favored by Pyongyang that stopped short of long-standing US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

And in a blockbusting press conference after the summit, Trump said the US would halt military exercises with Seoul – something long sought by Pyongyang, which says the drills are a rehearsal for invasion.

"We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," Trump told reporters, adding that "at some point" he wanted to withdraw US troops from the South.

The US stations around 30,000 troops in South Korea.

Many agreements have been made in the past with North Korea that have later fallen apart, and ahead of the meeting, critics expressed concerns that it risked being more about headlines than substantive progress.

In the event, the two leaders showered each other with compliments in the sumptuous setting of a luxury Singapore hotel, a marked contrast from their previous rounds of mutual insults.

Trump said he had formed a "special bond" with Kim, whom he described as "very talented".

After a day filled with smiles and handshakes watched around the world, the US "committed to provide security guarantees" to North Korea, while Pyongyang committed to "work toward" denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

Asked about the issue – the crux of the summit – Trump said "we're starting that process" which would begin "very, very quickly", but gave no concrete details.

Trump said he has held off from imposing additional sanctions, but that the US would remove sanctions when the North’s nuclear weapons “are no longer a factor.”

"We'll meet again," Trump said after the signing ceremony, standing with Kim on the verandah where they first met. "We will meet many times."

He "absolutely" would be willing to invite Kim to the White House, and would do so when the time was right, he added.

For his part, Kim said the two Cold War foes had vowed to "leave the past behind", pledging "the world will see a major change".

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the international community to offer support on carrying out the agreement on steps toward denuclearization between the United States and North Korea.

 South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he “could hardly sleep last night” in anticipation of the meeting and expressed hope for “complete denuclearization and peace.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Kim’s written commitment to complete denuclearization in an agreement signed with Trump at the end of their meeting in Singapore.

 

Iran questions Trump’s credibility

Hours after the historic meeting, Iran warned the North Korean leader against trusting Trump, saying he could cancel their denuclearization agreement within hours.

Iran cited its own experience in offering the advice to Kim a month after the US withdrew from a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

“We don’t know what type of person the North Korean leader is negotiating with. It is not clear that he would not cancel the agreement before returning home,” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht was quoted as saying by IRNA.

“We are facing a man who revokes his signature while abroad,” he said.

Nobakht questioned Trump’s credibility. “This man does not represent the American people, and they will surely distance themselves from him at the next elections,” he said.

As well as pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump disowned on Saturday a joint communique issued by Group of Seven leaders, just hours after he had left their summit for the meeting with Kim.

Trump has said would be open to striking a new nuclear accord with Tehran. However, he says the existing deal negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama had failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program.

On top of this, he also cited the terms under which international inspectors can visit more Iranian nuclear sites and “sunset” clauses, under which limits on the nuclear program start to expire after 10 years.

Trump has insisted any deal with North Korea should include irreversible and verifiable denuclearization.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman also advised North Korean leaders on Monday to “exercise complete vigilance” in their negotiations with the United States.

“We are not optimistic about these talks ... The United States, especially Mr. Trump, has undermined international agreements and has unilaterally withdrawn from them,” Bahram Qasemi said.

Trump has also decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change accord.

Washington will reimpose a wide array of Iran-related sanctions after the expiry of 90- and 180-day wind-down periods, including measures aimed at the oil sector and transactions with its central bank.

Other remaining signatories of the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – have criticized the US exit and are still trying to salvage the accord.

 

Trump after new deal with Iran

After the unprecedented meeting, Trump said on Tuesday he hoped relations could also improve, in time, with Iran, adding that he'd soon like a "real deal" with Iran.

"I hope that, at the appropriate time, after the sanctions kick in — and they are brutal what we've put on Iran — I hope that they're going to come back and negotiate a real deal because I'd love to be able to do that but right now it's too soon to do that," Trump told reporters.

He added though that a decline in confidence might make Iranian officials think about negotiating another deal with the US.

"On the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. I don't think they're looking so much to the Mediterranean, I don't think they're looking so much at Syria like they were, with total confidence, I don't think they're so confident right now," he said.

AFP, Reuters, AP and CNBC contributed to this story.

 

   
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