North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his “firm and unwavering” commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and U.S. President Donald Trump in return vowed security guarantees to North Korea, according to the joint statement released after the first-ever summit between heads of the two states.
Trump indicated the security concessions could include ending the regular combined military exercises with South Korea, which Pyongyang repeatedly protests as a threat to its regime.
"War games are very expensive..I think it is very provocative," he said in a separate press briefing after a televised signing ceremony of a joint statement in the afternoon after marathon talks with Kim from 9:00 a.m. in the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore.
Trump said Washington was not shying away from its demand for “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” although the wording was not included in the joint statement by claiming that verification process involving international inspectors will take place once the two states develop a “certain trust."
He was confident Kim would follow through the agreements unlike his father who fired off nuclear devices after landmark deals with South Korean President and U.S. officials in the past after packing financial rewards.
“Kim will be starting a process as soon as he returns home,” he said, for one, Pyongyang is readying to dismantle a missile engine test site after blowing off a nuclear test site in Punggye-ri last month.
He confirmed that “menace of nuclear weapons will be removed, and sanctions will remain intact.”
Trump said the sanctions will stay in place and will only come off “when nukes are not a factor” and added withdrawal or scale-down in U.S. troops in South Korea was “not part of the equation for now.”
Under the four-point “comprehensive agreement”, the U.S. and North Korea vowed to establish new bilateral relationship for the peace and prosperity of the two countries, work towards building a lasting and stable peace of the Korean Peninsula, and commit to “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, North Korea agreed on immediate repatriation of soldiers missing in actions and prisoners from the 1950-1953 Korean War.
The two leaders vowed to “commit to implement the joint statement fully and expeditiously” with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo due to start follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date.”
Although short on specifics, Trump said “rigorous” negotiations will start soon to initiate the “denuclearization” process and expressed confidence in the young leader in paving the way for a new future for his people by staying committed to the promises.
He invited Kim to the U.S. and offered to meet him many more times to see through the process.
By Hye-seung Seo
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