Earlier this week President Trump and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, met at the long-anticipated summit in Singapore. It was the first time that the leaders of both countries had ever sat down together. As almost all things are in this administration, the lead-up to the meeting was more than just a tad unorthodox– but it’s been done. Now that we’ve had some time to get enough facts to sink our teeth into, here are four important takeaways from the meeting.
1. There was a Signed (Vague) Agreement Between the Two Leaders
It wasn’t just photo-ops, pomp, and prolonged hand-shakes. The two leaders signed an agreement affirming 4 major points: New relations for peace; Eventual peace on the peninsula; The denuclearization of the peninsula; and the recovery/repatriation of MIA/POW remains. Other than that, though, the details are vague– perhaps too vague, some experts think.
2. President Trump’s Concessions
It appears that the President Trump has made more than a few concessions to Kim. Perhaps most notable is the suspension of war games with South Korea. It was a surprising announcement– especially to the military and South Korean leadership who hadn’t been told about it beforehand. It’s not the first time the President has made a major foreign policy decision without consulting experts.
3. President Trump’s Comments
I almost didn’t mention these because they’re dominating the coverage at the moment, but President Trump made some alarmingly convivial remarks about Kim who, it hardly needs stating, collects human rights violations like some do Funko Pops. My two cents: It’s possible to maintain a decent-enough rapport without resorting to direct public praise. (Last-minute edit: Or expressing envy at an autocrat’s grip on the citizenry) It’s a lesson in tact that the President sorely needs learning.
4. Likelihood of Success?
I wouldn’t hold your breath. A while ago I expressed cautious optimism about the thawing of relations between North and South Korea at the winter games. I’m pleased that there’s been progress but it’s still far too early to claim mission accomplished. North Korea has reneged on nuclear deals before. So, contrary to the President’s tweet, there’s still much to do before the nuclear threat has been disarmed.