The eyes of the world were watching…
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un kicked off a historic summit Tuesday morning in Singapore, greeting in each for the first time with a handshake, as both leaders began a conversation sparking hopes of a lasting peace agreement and possibly the dismantle of North Korea’s nuclear program.
“I feel great,” Trump said with Kim beside him to reporters around the world who gathered to cover the U.S – North Korea summit inside the Capella Hotel. “We will have a terrific relationship moving forward.”
Trump added, “It’s going to be a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success.”
Kim, through a translator said that, “the past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward, but we overcame all of them and we are here today.”
“Well, it was not easy to get here,” Kim said. “The past has placed many obstacles in our way, but we overcame all of them and we are here today.”
Trump and Kim exchanged pleasantries before the two men turned on the red carpet with to pose for photos in front of a line of U.S. and North Korean flags.
Such a summit between both these leaders was unimaginable, especially just within last year with both leaders throwing personal insults at each other with Kim continued on conducting weapons testing. In 2017, Trump threatened to rain “fire and fury,” while ramping up sanctions on North Korea and belittled the leader as “Little Rocket Man.” Kim, fired back with insults, calling Trump a “dotard.”
Leading up to the summit, US and North Korean officials convened in a contentious final-hour negotiations in a Ritz Carlton hotel here in a bid to narrow gaps on key aspects before the leader met for the summit.
Both leaders were scheduled to meet briefly one-on-one with translators before the bilateral discussion that includes aides from both delegations. They met for roughly 39 minutes before walking together side by side into another room where the broader meeting was scheduled to take place.
Trump delegations include Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, US Ambassador to the Philippines, Ambassador Sung Kim, and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Delegations of North Korea are North Korea Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol and Ri Su Yong, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Minister of People’s Armed Forces No Kwang Chol, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui, Director of Central Committee of Workers’ Party of Korea, Han Kwang Sang, and First Deputy Director of Central Committee of Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim Yo Jong.
When asked about the initial meeting, Trump said it was “very, very good,” saying that he has an “excellent relationship” with the North Korean leader. He added that the two leaders would “solve” the nuclear dispute.
“Working together, we will get it taken care of,” Trump said, with Kim responding that, “there will be challenges ahead, but will work with Trump.”
The leaders and their delegates were set to continue the discussion over a “working lunch” where the menu consists of, according to the White House, of prawn cocktail and avocado salad, green mango kerabu with fresh octopus, beef short rib confit, crispy pork, soy-braised cod and Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
After the lunch, Trump and Kim concluded the summit by signing a joint document, where Kim committed to “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” as Trump pledged “security guarantees.” Trump described the document as “comprehensive” and “very important” during the ceremony with Kim, though neither leader explicitly referenced denuclearization in their remarks.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to [North Korea], and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” the statement reads. “Having acknowledged that the U.S-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 this joint statement fully and expeditiously.”
The joint statement consists of four components, in which both leaders agreed to commit such as establishing a new U.S.-North Korean relations “in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity;” to join “efforts to build a lasting and stable peace” on the Korean peninsula;” to reaffirm the declaration Kim signed at his summit with South Korea’s president in the end of April; and to recover the remains of Americans lost or killed during the Korean War.
With the broad two-page agreement was light on specifics, the leaders promised to “build a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula and to repatriate remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action during the Korean War.
Kim hailed the summit as a “historic meeting,” saying they have “decided to leave the past behind.”
“We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind and we are about to sign a historic document,” Kim said. “I would like to express my gratitude to President Trump to make this meeting happen.”
At the signing ceremony, Trump said he expected to “meet many times” in the future with Kim. Responding to questions, Trump said “absolutely” he would invite Kim to the White House.
“We’ve developed a very special bond,” Trump said. “It’s going to be a much different relationship than we’ve had in the past.”
Trump is expected to hold a press conference with the American press corps following the summit early Tuesday morning Eastern time. Following the summit, the president is expected to depart Singapore for Washington Tuesday night, shortening the summit due to negotiations moving “more quickly than expected,” according to the White House.