News Analysis |
After a year of threats, name calling and hostile statements, Donald Trump and Kim Jong unmade history by being the first sitting U.S president and Korean leader to meet one-on-one, in Singapore today. The summit kicked off as both the leaders walked toward each other and shook hands with big smiles, with the American and North Korean flags in the backdrop.
Afterwards, they headed towards the meeting room of a luxury hotel where the summit was being convened. Before the meeting, during a small photo session, both Kim and Trump expressed high expectations for this particular meet up. Kim cited “prejudices and hostilities of the past” as the major obstacles in the path of dialogue and peace between both the nations.
Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people – the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North Korea’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.
It was a one-on-one meeting which lasted for about 40 minutes accompanied by translators only. A mutual declaration was signed later by both the leaders which Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un referred to as the “Panmunjom Declaration.” The text of the document consisted of “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” “stable and lasting peace” and “security guarantee from the United States” as keywords.
While talking to the media after the summit was over, Donald Trump called the event extraordinary and surprising even by his standards. Though the declaration seems quite vague and stuffed with diplomatic rhetoric, the first substantial announcement came in the post-summit press conference where Trump announced that U.S-South Korea joint military exercises – war games – will not take place from now on.
Overall the meeting was seen to take place in good spirit from both the sides. The preparation and agenda were well crafted and unlike what was feared, both the leaders displayed exceptional statesmanship. The vagueness of the declaration is the subject of debate on media all over the world as it does not lay down the roadmap or specifies any time -frame to achieve the desired objectives. But given the blows this juncture had to endure before reaching the point of initiation, it could still be regarded as a success in the end.
The mentioned “security guarantees from the United States” were unclear until President Donald Trump announced the ending of U.S-South Korean joint military exercises leading to the possibility that if North Korea abides by the U.S aspirations of irreversible and verifiable denuclearization, America might withdraw its troops from Korean peninsula in response.
Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been mediocre, or even worse, ever since he has taken the oval office as 45th president of United States. If he could put an end to a decade-long war between both the Koreas, he will certainly present it as the pinnacle of his presidency. It is most likely that from now onwards, he will start taking credit for all that has been achieved so far, no matter how trivial it is in the form of “Panmunjom Declaration.”
Similarly, for Kim Jong-un, who has been known as a ruthless autocrat for crushing every criticism he faced within North Korea with oppression, it was a turning point to change his image as a statesman rather a despot.
Read more: The bizarre Trump-Kim Summit
The optimistic summit was a remarkable change in dynamics from just less than a year ago when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people – the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North Korea’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.
In the run-up to the meeting, Trump had predicted that the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But in the hours before the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore earlier than expected, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.