June 16, 2018 - No. 23

DPRK-U.S. Summit in Singapore

Report on the Summit and Responses


President Trump's Remarks to Press
Responses to Summit
Halting of U.S.-Led War Games

DPRK-U.S. Summit in Singapore

Report on the Summit

A historic breakthrough in U.S.-DPRK relations was achieved on June 12 when U.S. President Donald Trump and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un held a summit in Singapore, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. At least 5,000 journalists were present and large numbers of people came to witness this long-awaited moment in history. The following report is primarily based on accounts published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and supplemented by reports from the Hankyoreh and other sources.

The first meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim began with an extended handshake and a brief exchange before they walked to the meeting room and sat down in front of journalists, where President Trump was the first to speak. "I feel really great. We're going to have a great discussion and will be tremendously successful," Trump said. "And it's my honour. And we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt." Chairman Kim responded, "We have a past that shackles us, and mistaken preconceptions and practices have sometimes covered our eyes and ears. Yet we have overcome all of that to arrive here." The two leaders then proceeded to a one-on-one meeting, accompanied by interpreters only.

Expanded Summit

Chairman Kim greets U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and other members of the U.S. delegation to the Summit.

Following the one-on-one meeting was an expanded Summit with officials and aides from both sides in attendance. Present at the Summit from the DPRK side were Kim Yong Chol and Ri Su Yong, vice-chairmen of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. Present from the U.S. side were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. At the start of this session, President Trump remarked, "Working together, we will get it taken care of," forecasting that he and Kim will solve "a big problem and a big dilemma." Kim expressed the aim to work together with President Trump "to resolve the challenges ahead" and to overcome the skepticism and speculations about their summit.

Chairman Kim expressed his pleasure with meeting President Trump face-to-face and praised the U.S. side's willingness and enthusiasm to resolve matters in a realistic way through dialogue and negotiations, away from the past filled with hostility.

President Trump further remarked that the Summit would lead to an improvement in DPRK-U.S. relations. He expressed his appreciation that despite the extreme danger of armed conflict in the region only a few months ago, an atmosphere of peace and stability had been created on the Korean Peninsula and in the region thanks to the proactive measures taken by Chairman Kim from the outset of this year.

Noting that many problems have occurred due to deep-rooted distrust and hostility between the two countries, Chairman Kim said that to achieve the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and realize its denuclearization, the two countries should build mutual understanding and commit to refraining from antagonizing each other and taking legal and institutional steps to guarantee this is the case.

He also underlined the need for the DPRK and the U.S. to actively take practical measures to carry out the issues discussed at the talks and the joint statement at an early date.

Chairman Kim immediately agreed with President Trump's proposal for the recovery of the remains of U.S. soldiers who died in the Korean War and repatriating those already identified, giving the instruction to the DPRK side that it should be carried out as soon as possible. Noting that the building of a lasting peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula is of great significance to ensure peace and security in the region and the rest of the world, he said that it is urgent for both sides to take a bold decision to halt the hostile military actions against each other.

Discussion between the two leaders affirmed the shared recognition of the importance of abiding by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump expressed his intention to halt the U.S.-south Korea joint military exercises, acknowledging the provocative nature of these activities, over a period of good-will dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. Also on the table are further security guarantees to the DPRK and the lifting of sanctions against it along with further improving the U.S.-DPRK relationship through dialogue and negotiation. Chairman Kim stated that if the U.S. side takes genuine measures to build trust to improve the DPRK-U.S. relationship, the DPRK can also continue to take additional goodwill measures commensurate with them.

Chairman Kim invited President Trump to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time and President Trump similarly invited Chairman Kim to visit the U.S; they accepted each other's invitation on the basis that it would serve as another important occasion for improved DPRK-U.S. relations.

The expanded session gave way to a luncheon in honour of the occasion of the Summit, where views were exchanged on developing communication, contact and visits between both sides to cement the achievements made at the Summit and to develop DPRK-U.S. relations.

The luncheon was followed by the signing of a joint statement by President Trump and Chairman Kim.

Chairman Kim and President Trump sign the four-point declaration to conclude the Summit.

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President Trump's Remarks to Press

Following the conclusion of the Summit, President Trump spoke to the press, where he expressed thanks to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of host country Singapore; President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK); Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; and President Xi Jingping of China, for their contribution to the Summit and its aim of peace. He continued:

"Most importantly, I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting, the first between an American president and leader of north Korea, proves that real change is indeed possible. My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct, and productive. We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time. [...]

"We're prepared to start a new history and we're ready to write a new chapter between our nations. Nearly 70 years ago, think of that, 70 years ago, an extremely bloody conflict ravaged the Korean Peninsula. Countless people died in the conflict. Including tens of thousands of brave Americans. Yet while the armistice was agreed the war never ended to this day.

"Now we can have hope it will soon end and it soon will. The past does not have to define the future. Yesterday's conflict does not have to be tomorrow's war. And as history has proven over and over again, adversaries can become friends. [...]

"There's no limit to what north Korea can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce and engagement with the rest of the world. It really wants to engage.

"Chairman Kim has an opportunity like no other: to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security and prosperity for his people. Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Trump also stated, "Chairman Kim says north Korea is also destroying a major missile engine testing site. That's not in your signed document. We agreed to that after the agreement was signed. That's a big thing. The missiles they were testing. The site will be destroyed very soon.

"Today is the beginning of the arduous process. Our eyes are wide open. Peace is always worth the effort. Especially in this case. This should have been done years ago. This should have been resolved a long time ago. We're doing it now. Chairman Kim has the chance to seize an incredible future for his people. Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace. The current state of affairs cannot endure forever.

"The people of north Korea, north and south, are truly wonderful and gifted people. They share the same heritage and language and culture and destiny. To realize their amazing destiny and reunite their national family, the menace of nuclear weapons will now be removed. In the meantime, the sanctions will remain in effect.

"We dream of a future where all Koreans can live together in harmony and where families are reunited and hopes are reborn and where the light of peace chases away the darkness of war. This bright future is within and this is what is happening. It is right there. It is within our reach. It's going to be there. It will happen. People thought this could never take place. It is now taking place. It is a very great day.

"It's a very great moment in the history of the world. Chairman Kim is on his way back to north Korea and I know for a fact that as soon as he arrives he will start a process that will make a lot of people very happy and very safe. So it is an honour to be with everybody today. The media. This is a big gathering of media, I will say. Makes me feel very uncomfortable. It is what it is. People understand that this is something very important to all of us, including yourselves and your families. So thank you for being here."

In response to questions from reporters, Trump stated "[Reducing U.S. Forces numbers in Korea] is not part of the equation right now. At some point I hope it will be." Regarding the lifting of sanctions, he said "When we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor. Sanctions played a big role. They will come off at that point. I hope it is soon."

Trump said follow-up negotiations led by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would begin the following week.

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Responses to Summit

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Rodong Sinmun, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, devoted the first four pages of its June 13 edition to the summit. This included 30 photographs from the summit.

Special coverage of the Summit in DPRK newspaper Rodong Sinmun -- click to enlarge.

Before the week was out, the DPRK had begun to implement the Summit's agreements. President Trump, in a June 15 interview with Fox News, reported that the DPRK had already begun to return the remains of U.S. soldiers.

President Moon, of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in an official statement issued that day after the Summit, expressed "warm congratulations on the success of the historic north Korea-U.S. Summit." He wrote, "The June 12 Sentosa agreement will go down as a historic event that brought the world's last Cold War to an end and is a great victory achieved together by the U.S. and south and north Korea, as well as a step forward for the people of the world who desire peace." He also expressed "great praise for the courage and resolution of the two leaders, President Trump and Chairman Kim, who boldly chose a new transformation rather than resigning themselves to an old and familiar reality." He acknowledged Trump for "achieving a great feat that no one else has been able to accomplish" and wrote that Kim "will be remembered as the driving force for the historic moment in which [the DPRK] took its first bold step toward the world." He echoed the remarks of Trump and Kim during the summit when he said, "We will put the dark times of war and conflict behind us and write a new history of peace and cooperation." South Korea will "join north Korea on that journey," he added.

President Moon pledged the ROK's commitment to do its part to ensure that DPRK-U.S. relations do not regress despite whatever difficulties may lie ahead, and that the ROK extended its "unstinting cooperation with the U.S., north Korea, and the international community to ensure the agreement [signed in Singapore] is fully implemented." He promised that "As President of the Republic of Korea, I will make every effort so that permanent peace is established on the Korean Peninsula and a new era of coexistence and prosperity begins."

President Moon and his cabinet watch a live broadcast of the Summit during a meeting.

Immediately after the Summit, China called for sanctions against the DPRK to be lifted. On June 14, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China supports dialogue that brings the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue onto the right track for a peaceful settlement. Wang said the Summit had important historic significance. It brought the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue onto the right track of dialogue and peaceful settlement, which accords with the common interests of parties concerned, as well as the common expectation of the international community, and helps to promote the goal of denuclearization, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, Wang said. He added that China appreciates the unremitting efforts of the United States. Wang stated that in his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later that day that he would be "willing to listen to the introduction from [...] and have an in-depth exchange of views with the U.S. side to promote the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said of the Summit: "We highly appreciate the meeting between north Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Trump, which was held most recently, on June 12." He noted that the meeting was the first step towards fully resolving the issue, which was made thanks to the two leaders' goodwill. "It creates conditions for moving forward and reduces the level of tensions around the Korean Peninsula," Putin said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on June 13 stated that the direct contact between the U.S. and north Korean leaders is "worth support," the TASS news agency reported. The "Russian-Chinese roadmap that was proposed less than a year ago stipulated the rejection of a hostile rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides at the first stage and the establishment of direct contact and the start of discussions on all problems of both sides at the second stage," Lavrov said. "By all accounts, the interactions between Washington and Pyongyang are leading exactly in this direction. President Trump's statement that there is no need for new U.S.-south Korean drills at the specified stage will help further gain the right pace." Of the joint statement signed in Singapore, Lavrov remarked that it "is apparently a framework. Much time is needed to coordinate the details linked to the most difficult problem of the nuclear potential. I hope that the negotiators will have enough patience for it."

After addressing the need for the DPRK to "receive security guarantees as a result of this process" of denuclearization, Lavrov raised the need for multilateral participation. "Regarding all the importance of the solution of the problems between the United States and north Korea, including the peninsula denuclearization stages and security guarantees, it is clear that it will hardly be possible to solve these problems in the bilateral format," Lavrov stressed. "All the participants of the Six-Party Talks have always proceeded from the fact that this process has to result in the creation of a system of peace, security and stability across Northeast Asia."

Russia has also called for the lifting of sanctions against the DPRK, as stated by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on June 15: "We are certain that modification of the UN Security Council's sanctions against north Korea can and must become one of the most important components of normalization in the region, the more so, since the corresponding resolutions repeatedly confirmed the Security Council's readiness for such adjustments in accordance with the dynamics of the situation.

"The dynamic is obvious. It might provide considerable backing for a political and diplomatic settlement in the region of Northeast Asia. [...] We are for the fastest cancellation of all such unilateral restrictions, in particular, the so-called secondary, exterritorial sanctions."

She also conveyed Russia's willingness to cooperate on all matters related to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, "If Russia's participation is required in the capacity of a member of international organizations or as a country having great experience, it will be prepared for cooperation over all these issues."

The responses of Japan and Canada remained stuck in the Cold War anti-communist framework aimed at demonizing the DPRK to push agendas which are not favourable to peace and the interests of the peoples. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a point of saying that at the summit, Trump raised the issue of the so-called abductees -- Japanese citizens alleged to have been kidnapped by the DPRK -- on his behalf. The Japanese Foreign Ministry stated, "Even after the U.S.-North Korea Summit, our stance remains that we cannot normalize relations without a resolution on the abduction, nuclear and missile issues." However, Abe is now considering holding direct talks with Chairman Kim later this year to deal with this and related issues, news agencies report.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland issued a June 12 statement which continued to place unilateral blame on the DPRK for tension on the Korean Peninsula and to push for the enforcement of sanctions:

"Canada has always believed a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear issue is both essential and possible. We welcome the dialogue between the leaders of the United States and North Korea that took place today in Singapore. This meeting was an important step toward advancing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

"As G7 leaders recognized at their summit in Canada last week, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is not just a regional issue, but a question of international peace and security. We note North Korea's reaffirmation of its commitment to denuclearization made in the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27, 2018, and support further dialogue toward the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. The global sanctions regime imposed against North Korea in support of the rules-based international order must remain in place until Pyongyang changes course. This is North Korea's only viable option for a brighter future within the international community.

"By participating in this historic meeting, North Korea has demonstrated its willingness to discuss denuclearization. We look forward to seeing North Korea follow through on this commitment with concrete actions and to move decisively toward a more positive future in the interest of the people of both North Korea and South Korea."

(With files from the Hankyoreh, Xinhua, KCNA, Reuters, TASS, Mainichi, Global Affairs Canada.)

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Halting of U.S.-Led War Games

The U.S. Defense Department announced that U.S. President Trump's remarks at the DPRK-U.S. Summit about halting the joint military exercises between the U.S. and south Korea had been coordinated in advance, with Reuters reporting that Trump had discussed his planned remarks with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.

South Korean newspaper the Hankyoreh writes, "The large-scale south Korea-U.S. military exercises that are currently held on a yearly basis are Key Resolve, Foal Eagle and Ulchi-Freedom Guardian. If the exercises are actually halted, the first to be affected will likely be the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises, which are scheduled for August. The Team Spirit exercises were not held in 1992 in order to set the mood for dialogue at the time. Trump did place a condition on halting the exercises -- the negotiations must be ongoing -- suggesting that he intends to use the possibility of holding the exercises as leverage during ongoing negotiations with the north."

On June 14, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that the U.S. and south Korea have agreed to work together to fulfill U.S. President Donald Trump's "guidance" on the joint military exercises. It said that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke over the phone with his south Korean counterpart Song Young-moo that day to discuss the results of the U.S.-DPRK summit and "their mutual support to ongoing diplomatic efforts, [including] how we are working together to fulfill the President's guidance on U.S.-ROK combined military exercises."

The south Korean military is ultimately under U.S. command and the presidential Blue House said on June 15 that whether to halt the south Korea-U.S. war games would be announced soon.

(With files from the Hankyoreh, AP, Xinhua)

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