A historic day, the President of the United States had a meeting with the North Korean Dictator, and the president says it went really well. But...the president is Donald Trump, so “really well” could mean literally anything.
Trump hailed the meeting as “very successful” during a press conference. He talked up Kim Jong Un’s “great personality,” and he claimed we are ushering in a new era in history. Trump claims the meeting ended with an agreement that would put both countries on a path toward peace and “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.
It does seem like a bit of a remarkable development, since just a few months ago the two leaders were comparing the size of their nuclear buttons. However, experts think this peace agreement is more symbolic than Trump would lead everyone to believe, and in fact, the deal is pretty weak.
According to Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:
“Unfortunately, we do not know if Kim has made a strategic decision to denuclearize and it is unclear if further negotiations will lead to the end goal of denuclearization. This looks like a restatement of where we left negotiations more than 10 years ago and not a major step forward."
Trump and Kim’s agreement has four main points: the US and NK want to establish relations, the US and NK will work to bring peace, NK will work toward denuclearization, and the US and NK will work to recover POW/MIA remains.
Bruce Klingner, a former CIA deputy division chief for Korea tweeted about the agreement, “Each of the four main points was in previous documents with NK, some in a stronger, more encompassing way. The [denuclearization] bullet is weaker than the Six Party Talks language.”
Trump also announced a surprise in his press conference, the US will halt military exercises in South Korea. It appears that Trump has made this concession without getting a promise from North Korea in return. He claims the reason for stopping the drills will save the US a “tremendous amount of money” because South Korea, a US ally for 60 years, isn’t contributing “100 percent.”
South Korea was startled by the sudden decision to stop joint exercises, “at this moment, we need to figure out President Trump’s accurate meaning and intention,” said the South Korean President’s office.
Experts categorize the meeting as a general step in the right direction, even though Trump did not address North Korea’s human rights’ violations or get any concrete plans from Kim about the denuclearization process, at least the two leaders are no longer threatening to annihilate each other.