US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged on Tuesday to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy.
The joint statement signed at the end of their historic summit in Singapore gave few details on how either goal would be achieved but Trump fleshed out some details at a news conference.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” said the statement.
DPRK is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea.
Kim earlier said the two leaders had a historic meeting 'and decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change'
Trump said he expected the denuclearization process to start “very, very quickly”. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials would hold follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date”, the statement said.
Trump told the news conference that the process would be verified, and that the verification “will involve having a lot of people in North Korea”.
He also said Kim had told him North Korea was destroying a major engine-testing site used for missiles, but maintained international sanctions on Pyongyang would stay in place for now.
Trump said joint military exercises with South Korea would be halted. He said the move would save Washington a tremendous amount of money and would not be revived “unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should”.
“Some things were agreed and not reflected in the agreement,” Trump said.
Kim earlier said the two leaders had a historic meeting “and decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change.”
However, several political analysts said the summit had yielded symbolic, rather than tangible, results.
“It is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearization,” said Anthony Ruggiero, senior fellow of Washington’s Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. “This looks like a restatement of where we left negotiations more than 10 years ago and not a major step forward.”
The document made no mention of the sanctions and nor was there any reference to finally signing a peace treaty. North Korea and the United States were on opposite sides in the 1950-53 Korean War and are technically still combatants, as the conflict, in which millions of people died, was concluded only with a truce.