After more than a half-century of hostility between their two countries, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a document Tuesday pledging “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but provided few details of how that might work.
“We’re starting that process very quickly,” Trump said during a brief signing ceremony, again providing few specifics following a day of ceremony and bonhomie with his former rival Kim.
The statement of renewed U.S.-North Korean cooperation capped a four-hour-plus summit in which Trump and Kim had nothing but nice things to day about each other as they finally came face-to-face. The summit comes less than a year after the pair threatened each other with nuclear annihilation.
Throughout the day, Kim refused to answer questions about whether he would be willing to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for economic assistance.
Still, Trump claimed success by saying that “we had a really fantastic meeting” at a resort hotel that went “better than anybody could have expected, top of the line, really good.”
The summit provided extraordinary pictures and surreal moments involving old enemies. Trump said that he and the North Korea leader he once denounced as “Little Rocket Man” had “developed a very special bond.”
For his part, Kim said he and Trump have “decided to leave the past behind.”
The joint statement said that Trump “committed to provide security guarantees” to the North Korean government, while Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
It did not define “security guarantees,” nor what “complete denuclearization” entails. In the past, North Korea has said it would include a withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea and a pullback of the U.S. nuclear umbrella that covers the Korean region.
Similar agreements in the past have not lasted.
The statement also pledged new U.S.-North Korean relations “in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity,” and joint efforts to recover POW/MIA remains from the Korean War of more than six decades ago.
Throughout the day, Trump and Kim staged frequent photo opportunities that showed them getting along. At one point during a post-lunch stroll on the hotel grounds, Trump showed Kim the interior of the presidential limousine known as “The Beast.”