DPRK, US leaders hold historic meeting in Singapore

Tuesday, 2018-06-12 18:09:59
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The leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un (2nd L) and US President Donald Trump (2nd R) sign a joint statement in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua/Ministry of Communication and Information of Singapore)
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Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump gathered in Singapore on June 12 for a historic meeting widely expected to open a new chapter in their countries' relations.

They met one on one for about 40 minutes, had an expanded meeting joined by a few aides, and concluded their morning activities with a working lunch.

The larger session of the meeting, which took place at the Capella Hotel in Singapore's resort island of Sentosa, was attended by major security and diplomatic aides to Kim and Trump.

On the DPRK side, Kim Yong Chol and Ri Su Yong, two vice chairmen of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho were present.

Accompanying Trump were White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"Working together, we will get it taken care of," Trump said at the beginning of the expanded discussions, forecasting that he and Kim will solve "a big problem and a big dilemma."

Kim said he will "cooperate with President Trump to resolve the challenges ahead" and to overcome the skepticism and speculations about their summit.

More officials took part in the working lunch, with the additional participants on the US side, including White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger, and senior diplomat Sung Kim, who has led substantive talks with Pyongyang into the summit.

Kim and Trump started their first summit with a historic handshake before a row of the national flags of the two countries that lasted for several seconds.

"This is just a new beginning," Trump said while shaking hands with Kim.

Kim, dressed in a dark suit, and Trump, sporting a red tie, talked in a corner of the hotel corridor for a few minutes before they walked along the passage into the meeting room and sat down in front of journalists.

"The way coming here was not easy," Kim said.

"We had the past that grabbed our ankles and old prejudices and practices that covered our eyes and ears. We are here after overcoming all these," he said.

Predicting a tremendous success of the summit, Trump said it was "an honor" to meet with Kim face-to-face and that he would have "a terrific relationship" with the DPRK leader.

After shaking hands again with Kim in front of the cameras, Trump gave a thumbs-up before starting the first meeting between an incumbent US president and a DPRK leader.

Since taking over his country's leadership in late 2011, Kim had made only three known trips to foreign countries before the Singapore visit. He traveled to China twice and to the Republic of Korea (RoK) side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

* US President Donald Trump said on June 12 the DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-un had made an "unwavering commitment" to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula but sanctions against DPRK would remain in effect.

Trump, speaking after his historic summit meeting with Kim in Singapore, said both leaders were "prepared to start a new history and write a new chapter between our nations".

"He reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," Trump told a news conference.

Trump said Kim had "an opportunity like no other", and that Kim had said a DPRK’s missile testing site "is going to be destroyed very soon".

Trump also said he would be "stopping the war games", apparently referring to unspecified military exercises.

Trump also said he and Kim had discussed human rights briefly.

* Following the US - DPRK summit in Singapore, many countries applauded the political resolution made by the leaders of the two countries, hoping it will establishing a peace mechanism for the Korean peninsula.

The RoK's President Moon Jae-in vowed on June 12 to write "new history" with DPRK, praising DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-un's decision to hold a summit with the US in Singapore.

"Leaving dark days of war and conflict behind, we will write a new chapter of peace and cooperation," Moon said in a statement released by his office.

China's foreign ministry said on June 12 that China will continue to dedicate itself to establishing a peace mechanism for the Korean peninsula.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the joint statement signed by President Donald Trump and DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore as a first step in the denuclearisation of DPRK.

"We see this as a step in a comprehensive resolution," Abe said in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Russia has a positive assessment of the deal between US President Donald Trump and DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-un, but "the devil is in the detail", TASS news agency cited Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on June 12.

Russia is ready to assist in implementing the deal - to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula - and hopes settling the nuclear crisis will unblock normal economic cooperation, RIA news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

He also said Moscow hoped that six-party talks - a negotiation format involving the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, Japan and China - will at some point become relevant again, according to TASS.