Trump Kim summit: US president lauds deal despite scepticism

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Media captionTrump Kim summit: What happens now?

Donald Trump has declared that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, following his summit with Kim Jong-un.

The two leaders met on Tuesday, signing a brief declaration on denuclearisation and reducing tensions.

After arriving back in the US, the president also tweeted that “everybody can now feel much safer”.

However, the credibility of that claim is in doubt. Many observers say the agreement does little to reduce North Korea’s stockpile of weapons.

 

Under the deal, the North retains its nuclear warheads, the missiles to launch them and has not agreed to any specific process to get rid of them.

Pyongyang has celebrated the summit as a great win for the country.

What was agreed?

The declaration signed at the end of the summit said the two countries would co-operate towards “new relations”, while the US would provide “security guarantees” to North Korea.

Pyongyang in return “commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

At a news conference after the meeting, Mr Trump said he would lift sanctions against North Korea once “nukes are no longer a factor”.

He also announced an unexpected end to US-South Korea military drills.

The move – long demanded by Pyongyang – has been seen as a major concession to North Korea and appeared to take US allies in the region by surprise.

What does the deal lack?

Most Western observers have said the deal includes no new commitments from North Korea nor details on how denuclearisation could be achieved or verified.

At his news conference, President Trump said it was difficult to ensure anything but that he trusted his instinct that Mr Kim would abide by his word.

Critics also expressed disappointment that Pyongyang’s long record of human rights abuses was not addressed.

Media captionTrump Kim summit: Win-win, or a Kim win?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in South Korea on Wednesday to discuss details of how denuclearisation could be achieved.

In comments reported by Reuters, he said there was still “a great deal of work to do… a long way to go with North Korea”.

He said the US would like “major” North Korean nuclear disarmament by the end of 2020, and that Pyongyang understood there would be “in-depth verification” of the process.

How has the deal been received?

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke to Donald Trump after the summit, saying there was “great meaning in Chairman Kim’s clearly confirming to President Trump the complete denuclearisation”.

Media captionNorth Korean state TV showed a cartoon as President Trump spoke in Singapore

Tokyo also, however, cautioned that despite Pyongyang’s pledge for denuclearisation no concrete steps had been taken and that Japan would not let down its guard.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said Japan saw “US-South Korean joint exercises and the US military presence in South Korea as vital to security in East Asia”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the Singapore summit as an “equal dialogue” between the two sides, adding that “no-one will doubt the unique and important role played by China: a role which will continue”.

Chinese state media described the summit as a “starting point” but said “no-one would expect the half-day summit to be able to iron out all differences and remove deep-seated mistrust between the two long-time foes”.

In the US, supporters of President Trump welcomed the outcomes of the summit as a historic breakthrough.

But there has been scepticism from both Democrats and Republicans about the lack of detail and surprise announcement about an end to joint drills with South Korea.

In a further tweet on Wednesday, President Trump hit out at criticism of his summit in some US media, dubbing it “Fake News”.

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