Ways2Capital Reviews : Historic Trump-Kim Summit: Leaders Optimistic About Negotiations

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed optimism that the two countries could find a path toward peace, opening a highly anticipated summit between the two adversaries who only last year seemed on the brink of nuclear war.

“I believe this is a good prelude for peace,” Kim said as the two men sat accompanied by top aides an hour into their meetings in Singapore. Trump responded by saying “I do, too.” Looking Kim in the eye, he said “we will solve it, we will be successful.”

The two men greeted each other with a handshake. Despite the warm words, it was unclear whether the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting US president and North Korean leader could yield the breakthrough necessary to overcome decades of hostility and mistrust.

For each leader, the meeting represents a major gamble, and its outcome will be dissected around the globe for a sense of whether one of the world’s greatest security threats, Kim’s nuclear arsenal, can be eliminated. The talks could also lead to a formal end of the Korean War, which remains unfinished after a 1953 armistice.

The fate of the summit may very well turn on the first moments that they spent alone with each other. Days before, Trump said he expected to know “within the first minute” if Kim was serious about giving up his nuclear weapons.

As the meeting opened at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, the two men entered with somber expressions that quickly gave way to smiles. “It’s my honor, and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt,” Trump said in brief remarks to reporters moments after their history-making handshake. “It was not an easy journey,” Kim said. “We have had a past that stopped us from advancing, and wrong behaviors and practices sometimes closed our eyes and ears, but we have overcome those to come to this point.”

Later, the two men emerged briefly to stroll along a second-floor balcony of the resort. They then held an expanded meeting with top aides, and planned to continue discussions over a working lunch.

Trump was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kim was accompanied by North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and former Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong.

Trump wants the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Kim is seeking a security guarantee and possibly a peace treaty, along with the removal of the US' nuclear umbrella protecting allies South Korea and Japan. Kim has rejected calls to unilaterally give up his weapons in return for economic aid, and instead has proposed a step-by-step denuclearization process. His public statements and state-run media indicate he wants a deal to ease sanctions, but that he won’t give up his nuclear weapons until he feels safe enough to retain power without them.

Pompeo on Monday drew a firm line, saying the US plans to keep sanctions in place until North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons capability. Yet, the top US diplomat added that Trump is ready to offer “unique” guarantees to ease the regime’s concerns about giving up a nuclear arsenal that provides a deterrent against foreign adversaries while also serving as a key point of national pride.
Source: Bloomberg
 
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