Trump, Kim make history

SINGAPORE (AP) – Clasping hands and forecasting future peace, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un committed yesterday to “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula during the first meeting in history between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. Yet as Trump toasted the summit’s results, he faced mounting questions about whether he got too little and gave away too much — including an agreement to halt US military exercises with treaty ally South Korea.

Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim came together for a summit that seemed unthinkable months ago when the two nations traded nuclear threats. The gathering of the two unpredictable leaders marked a striking gamble by the American president to grant Kim long-sought recognition on the world stage in hopes of ending the North’s nuclear programme.

Both leaders expressed optimism throughout roughly five hours of talks, with Trump thanking Kim afterward “for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people”. Kim, for his part, said the leaders had “decided to leave the past behind” and promised, “The world will see a major change.”

Light on specifics, the document signed by the two leaders largely amounted to an agreement to continue discussions, as it echoed previous public statements and past commitments.

It did not include an agreement to take steps toward ending the technical state of warfare between the US and North Korea.

Trump, holding forth at a free-flowing news conference after Kim departed, said the North Korean leader had before him “an opportunity like no other” to bring his country back into the community of nations if he follows through on pledges to give up his nuclear programme.

US President Donald Trump (R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore. – AFP