A historic handshake in Singapore, at the first summit between a sitting U.S. president and a DPRK leader. A chance to remove nuclear weapons from territory the U.S. military has long considered the most dangerous on earth.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
“Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirmed his ‘unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,’” President Donald Trump said at the time.
But the historic moment produced no agreement on what denuclearization means, or how it will be achieved.
Still, President Trump tweeted that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” and suspended joint military exercises with Seoul , which Pyongyang has often called “provocative.”
Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
In a gesture welcomed by Washington, the DPRK released the remains of more than 50 American war dead; a solemn reminder of the wounds left bare by unresolved conflict.
Diplomats, however, are still sending mixed messages. In July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol in Pyongyang. Pompeo called the discussions “productive.” The DPRK accused Washington of acting “gangster-like.”
A month later, Trump tweeted: “I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and cancels Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang.
A second summit with Kim Jong Un now seems unlikely to observers, but not according to Trump.
“He wrote me beautiful letters. And they are great letters. And we fell in love,” Trump said.
2019. A new year and a new condition. Kim Jong Un demanded Washington lift sanctions on Pyongyang for negotiations to continue.
“If the US does not keep its promise made in front of the whole world and misjudges our patience and insists sanctions and pressures on our republic, we may be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests,” DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said.
Ahead of the Hanoi summit, Washington’s top intelligence chiefs told lawmakers that though the DPRK didn’t test nuclear weapons in 2018, little else has changed.
“We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said. “Its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.”
Still, administration officials emphasized the potential for progress.
“President Trump is ready to end this war. It is over. It is done,” U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Stephen Biegun said. “We’re not going to invade North Korea. We are not seeking to topple the regime.”