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Trump and Kim Begin Summit with Handshake, End with Signed Document
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12 Jun 2018 04:46 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)



We went to bed last night not knowing what to expect from the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea. After the president managed to upset an ally in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, what kind of trouble could he get in with a man that he previously exchanged insults with?  

But they began their time together with a handshake, ended it with a signed document, and after the facts were all in, it seems not really much has changed on North Korea's end, but the U.S. has made some big concessions.


It looked innocuous enough to start, with two men shaking hands in their planned meeting spot in Singapore. But really this was more momentous than it looked. The leaders of the United States and North Korea had never met before. A year ago it seemed impossible, and just two weeks ago it seemed like it may never happen, but somehow this event was pulled off. 

The end of the summit, after five hours together, produced a signed document from the two men. It described that Trump "committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK," while Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."


So Trump is promising security in exchange for what it seems he already had. For the past few months Kim has been toying with the word "denuclearization." He balked at using the word, yet was making promises to end testing and in fact destroyed his testing facilities. Was this really a big concession on his part? 

Additionally, they promised to "commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity" and agreed to "join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula." The two leaders also committed to "recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified."


ABC News' Alexander Mallin points out some important bullet points that were not included in the signed agreement. 

"Complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization" is missing. Could the North add their nukes back into their repertoire? He also notes that "any mention of U.S. sanctions or Japanese abductees, and any reference to North Korea's alleged human rights crimes, including its actions against American Otto Warmbier" is also not mentioned.


However, Trump did allow that he thinks Warmbier was a building block to getting to this point. "I think without Otto this would not have happened," he allowed. "Something happened from that day; it was a terrible thing. It was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus."  

Very importantly, he also added that until full denuclearization is achieved, "the sanctions will remain in effect." That's a key factor here.


But there was perhaps a really big concession that was made, and once again he's upsetting one of our allies, this time South Korea. South's president Moon Jae-in had been instrumental in bringing Trump and Kim together, yet Trump promised to stop "war games," and by that he means the joint military exercises between the U.S. And South. 

The government of South Korea admits they were caught off guard by Trump's words. Moon praised the overall agreement by calling it "a great victory achieved by both the United States and the two Koreas." He also allowed, "Once again, I would like to pay my respect to President Trump who achieved a feat that no one else has ever delivered."


Yet, there was no mention of Trump agreeing to stop "war games" and end joint military exercises with the South. But when Trump spoke of it with George Stephanopoulos, it didn't seem so much to be something he was conceding to Kim. He wanted to end it because it was "very expensive." 

Looking at the entire agreement, as well as what was mentioned after, it brings up the question of what the U.S. really got out of it. When Moon and Kim met recently, they had already agreed to denuclearization, despite Kim continuing to bristle at the word.


And in return, Trump gave up control that he had. Kim didn't like the "war games" between the U.S. and South Korea. That was a great bargaining tool for Trump, yet he gave it up very easily and doesn't seem to have gotten very much in return, while possibly driving a wedge between the U.S. and yet another ally. 

Before we got to this point, there were some who were already suggesting a Nobel Peace Award for Trump. Yet in the past week he's alienated allies at the G7 summit, called our number one ally a liar, and now South Korea is being pushed back as well, all just to get the word "denuclearization" in writing. Was it worth it?

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