It may still be morning in America, but in Singapore, the city-state on the southern tip of Malaysia where Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un have met for their historic “summit” over the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it’s already been a lifetime.
In fact, at 12 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. time, Trump’s internal clock must be on fast-forward, although that didn’t seem to stop him from tweeting all the way up to the meeting, including with news literally moments before he shook hands with Kim that his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow had just suffered a heart attack. Kudlow, of course, was fresh off the news circuit, having defended Trump’s erratic behavior at the G7 Summit in a rant on CNN’s State of the Union that caused many to speculate that he had been drinking heavily before the show.
The spectacle in Singapore began with a handshake between the “two dictators,” as Fox News indelicately put it on Sunday, followed by the photo-op that both men have surely been eagerly anticipating since they agreed to meet just a few weeks ago. Trump, keen on looking like the magnanimous host, put his hand on Kim’s shoulder and led him to a room where the two would sit with only their translators accompanying them.
That initial meeting would last less than an hour before the two emerged to call in aides and cabinet members to join them at the negotiating table. Between the two meetings, reporters asked Kim at least three times whether he would surrender his nuclear program, but the North Korean leader simply smiled and said nothing.
Press inside the second meeting recorded Trump’s comments:
“It’s a great honor to be with you, and I know we’ll have tremendous success together. We’ll solve the big problem, the big dilemma, that until this point has been unable to be solved. We will be successful. And I look forward to working on it with you. It will be done.”
At issue primarily was whether or not Kim would agree to give up North Korea’s atomic program — an endeavor that Team Trump says must be complete before North Korea gets any kind of sanctions relief or economic assistance, let alone assurances of protection or safety from the United States.
Many feared that Trump would concede too much without securing the promise of verifiable destruction of the nuclear program — the public explosions at North Korea’s testing sites turned out to be nothing more than a photo-op — but clearly, his “in the first minute” detector hadn’t gone off in around four hours of talks.
When the summit concluded, the men emerged seemingly triumphant. They briefly acknowledged the media, then went for a lunch of not hamburgers, as Trump once suggested, but Korean food and a “dark chocolate tartlet ganache,” perhaps in honor of Trump’s preference for chocolate cake.
The “signing ceremony” held by the two men appears to have been largely symbolic, in that the document they signed says nothing about details or timetables — simply more assurances of the same things each has been saying since April. Images of the document went online almost immediately after:
The full text of that signed document is as follows, and again, provides no details:
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. 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.
Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
- The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
- The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
- Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
- The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
Video of the ceremony:
So the two men have signed a document “committing” to a litany of projects and endeavors that look identical in application to everything discussed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kim’s spy chief Kim Yong-Chul, and every other high-ranking official that has been involved thus far in the talks.
It’s clear that what HAS been achieved in this summit is a beautiful, long-lasting photo opportunity for both men that each will certainly use as just the kind of propaganda that each has relied on to arrive at this point in their respective careers.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery