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Trump sees ‘new future’ for North Korea, but path unclear

  • In this photo released by the Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore, U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One following a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday. AP Photo

  • U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the document that he and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un just signed at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore on Tuesday. The most tangible outcome of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seems to be a commitment to recover the remains of U.S. military personnel missing in action and presumed dead from the Korean War. In a joint statement signed by the leaders Tuesday, the countries committed to the recovery of the remains and the immediate repatriation of those already identified. AP Photo

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore Tuesday. AP Photo

  • President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island on Tuesday. AP Photo

  • U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions about the summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un during a press conference at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island on Tuesday in Singapore. AP Photo

  • John Miller, of Manchester, N.H., a former U.S. Army sergeant who served as a forward radio relay operator in Vietnam, watches as President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while having a beer at the American Legion Post #2 in Manchester on Monday. AP PHoto

  • U. S. President Donald Trump stands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un for a photograph at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore on Tuesday. AP Photo

  • North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump prepare to sign a document at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island on Tuesday. AP Photo



Associated Press
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

SINGAPORE — President Donald Trump wrapped up his five-hour nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with surprisingly warm words and hope for “a bright new future” for Kim’s isolated and impoverished nation. Yet he immediately faced pointed questions at home about whether he got little and gave away much in his push to make a deal with the young autocrat — including an agreement to halt U.S. military exercises with South Korea.

Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement Tuesday agreeing to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, although the timeline and tactics were left unclear. Trump later promised to end “war games,” with ally South Korea, a concession to Kim that appeared to catch the Pentagon and Seoul government off guard and sowed confusion among Trump’s Republican supporters in Washington.

The head-scratching was a fitting end for a meeting marked by unpredictability. The face to face was unthinkable just months earlier as the two leaders traded insults and nuclear threats. In agreeing to the summit, Trump risked granting Kim his long-sought recognition on the world stage in hopes of ending the North’s nuclear program.

While progress on the nuclear question was murky, the leaders spent the public portions of their five hours together expressing optimism and making a show of their new relationship. Trump declared he and Kim had developed “a very special bond.” He gave Kim a glimpse of the presidential limousine. Kim, for his part, said the leaders had “decided to leave the past behind” and promised, “The world will see a major change.”

Soon, Kim was on a plane headed home, while a clearly ebullient Trump held forth for more than an hour before the press on what he styled as a historic achievement to avert the prospect of nuclear war. Before leaving himself, Trump tossed out pronouncements on U.S. alliances, human rights and the nature of the accord that he and Kim had signed.

The details of how and when the North would denuclearize appear yet to be determined, as are the nature of the unspecified “protections” Trump is pledging to Kim and his government.

As Trump acknowledged that denuclearization would not be accomplished overnight, the North suggested Wednesday that Trump had moved away from his demand for complete denuclearization before U.S. sanctions on the long-isolated country are removed.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday the two leaders “shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

The White House did not immediately respond to the North Korean characterization of the deal.

The Singapore accord largely amounts to an agreement to continue discussions, echoing previous public statements and commitments. It does not, for instance, include an agreement to take steps toward ending the technical state of warfare between the U.S. and North Korea.


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