Mr Trump’s announcement, made in a press conference at the end of the historic summit with Mr Kim, could overturn longstanding U.S. policy and was described by experts as an “astonishing” concession. It followed a public greeting, one-on-one meeting, and expanded bilateral meeting.
In another political win for President Xi Jinping, the declaration was effectively a tacit acceptance of the “freeze for freeze” proposal pushed by Beijing a halt to both US-South Korea joint drills and the North’s weapons tests. It also said Trump committed to unspecified “security guarantees” for Pyongyang, and to “lift sanctions against it”.
Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, who served as a top USA negotiator with Pyongyang before the last attempt at diplomacy broke down in 2009, was more optimistic.
“I’m very optimistic that we will have a successful outcome from our meetings tomorrow”, he said.
Following their historic summit on Tuesday, Trump had said he would like to visit the North Korean capital Pyongyang “at the appropriate time”, and that Kim would “absolutely” would be invited to the White House. The US had sided with South Korea in the conflict.
“It’s never been done before”, Trump said of a U.S.
It was not immediately clear whether the freeze represents a major concession or not.
Trump said that they did discuss human rights issues briefly, and claimed that 100,000 people in North Korean gulags would be one of the great winners from this summit.
Many agreements have been made in the past with North Korea that have later fallen apart, and ahead of the meeting, critics expressed concerns that it risked being more about headlines than substantive progress.
“No, not at all”, Mr. Trump said.
Trump initially rejected the proposal, in which North Korea would stop conducting nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt in military exercise between the US and South Korea.
Singapore is footing the hotel bill for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his contingent, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Monday.
“South Korea is a little confused”.
The likelihood of Trump launching a first strike against North Korea, thus setting South Korea, where more than 100,000 Americans live and/or work, ablaze and risking a strike against population centers in the US, was similarly low.
North Korea’s official media brought a large number of reporters and camera operators to Singapore and they had access to Kim that was denied to media from elsewhere in the world. “We have no intention of changing our joint drills with the U.S”. “At a certain point, I actually look forward to taking them off”. “And they’re not ready if they can not exercises”. “You have South Korea, you have China, and they own the land in the middle. Is this forever, or while the talks or going on, just for next month?” The move surprised many at the Pentagon and in Seoul. “I think he’s going to start now”, he said.