US, North Korea Sign Agreement at Historic Summit

In an agreement signed Tuesday in Singapore, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” while U.S. President Donald Trump “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea.

The document also calls for the two countries to jointly work on efforts to build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, to establish new U.S.-North Korea relations and to recover the remains of prisoners of war and military members missing in action. The two sides also promised to hold follow-up negotiations.

“We’re going to take care of a very big and very dangerous problem for the world,” Trump said.

Sitting alongside Kim at the signing ceremony, Trump said the two leaders “have developed a special bond” and that after several hours of talks Tuesday and the signing of the agreement he thinks the U.S. relationship with North Korea “will be very different than in the past.”

Both Trump and Kim expressed gratitude toward each other for the meetings, and Trump said he would “absolutely” invite Kim to visit the White House.

“Today we had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind,” Kim said, speaking through a translator. “The world will see a major change.”

Shortly after the signing ceremony Kim left Singapore’s Sentosa island.

Denuclearization

Trump and Kim traveled to Singapore with a main agenda of discussing the possible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

They first met Tuesday for about 40 minutes alone, except for their translators, before bringing in delegations from their respective sides for a working lunch. They walked outside together after the lunch, stopping briefly to look at the U.S. president’s special limousine.

“We had a really fantastic meeting, a lot of progress, very positive,” Trump said.

The U.S. side included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. The North Korean participants included former military intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho, and Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party.

Historic meeting

Tuesday marked the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Dozens of cameras snapped photos as the two men first came together in front of a background of U.S. and North Korean flags.

One the eve of the talks, American officials maintained any resulting agreement must lead to an end of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile threats.

There will not be a repeat of “flimsy agreements” made between previous U.S. administrations and North Korea, Secretary Pompeo told reporters in Singapore on Monday.

“The ultimate objective we seek from diplomacy with North Korea has not changed — the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the Korea Peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept,” Pompeo declared.

Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programs, he added.

“If diplomacy does not move in the right direction, those measures will increase,” he said.

Pompeo also said the United States is “prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique that America has been willing to provide previously. That’s necessary and appropriate.”

But when pressed by reporters, the secretary of state would not say whether that could include reduction of the number of or removal of U.S. troops in South Korea.

About 5,000 journalists are in Singapore for the occasion, but only a handful of American and North Korean reporters and photographers were permitted at the venue when the two leaders greet each other.

VOA’s Bill Gallo contributed to this report.

SOURCE: VOA NEWS

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