Shatha Khalil *
Following their historic meeting on June 12, 2018 in Singapore, US President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un signed a document that included Kim Jong-un’s commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in exchange for the United States’ commitment to the North Korean security.
The meeting is a major shift in relations between the two countries, which have fought a war of words over the past year. North Korea has been dealt as a pariah state for decades, but its leader is now treated as a statesman. Last year, it was rare to see North Korean flag flying anywhere in Asia.
What do the US and Korean sides want?
The United States wants North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons irreversibly and allow the international community to verify that.
Analysts and observers wonder why Kim Jong-un may be forced to give up his nuclear weapons after much has been done for its possession, saying that by meeting with the world’s most powerful leader he has already won, and now wants to focus on building his country’s economy and easing sanctions Imposed on it and bringing in international investment.
However, the United States does not expect a final agreement in Singapore, as Trump described it as a “meeting of acquaintances” and said that if he felt things were going badly, he would withdraw from the summit and if things went well he would invite Kim to visit him at the White House .
The document contained four main items:
First, the United States and North Korea are committed to normalizing relations according to the will of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
Second, “The United States and North Korea cooperate to establish a long-term peace system on the Korean Peninsula.”
Third , North Korea’s commitment to the Panmunjum Declaration of the South Korean Summit of 27 April on the Complete Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Fourth , “The United States and North Korea commit themselves to return the remains of the dead and prisoners of war and the bodies of those who have been identified to their country immediately.”
In addition to the four items, the document also states that Washington and Pyongyang will hold complementary negotiations as soon as possible, led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior North Korean official, to implement the outcome of the summit between Trump and Kim.
It also stated that President Trump to provide security guarantees for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and establish strong relations by opening a new page between the two countries. ”
Despite the importance of the document , it will not differ significantly from the agreement signed between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jayn after meeting in the southern part of the demilitarized zone between the two countries at the end of April, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The newspaper read between the lines of the first item that the language used in it represents a departure from the “inflammatory speeches” that have characterized the relations between Washington and Pyongyang in the past, and “reflects the desire of Kim to focus on economic progress, and perhaps with American assistance now, after achieving the goal in the development of Nuclear weapons capable of threatening US territory and bringing its president to the negotiating table.”The following is an explanation of the items:
• The first item reflects Kim’s desire to focus on economic progress after he has achieved his goal of developing nuclear weapons capable of threatening US territory.
• The second item: Guardian considers that it has no direct obligation to formalize its “good feelings” included in it through a peace treaty to replace the truce signed at the end of the Korean War in 1953, which would essentially require the engagement of China and other countries which have a role in the conflict. As expected, Trump has provided “unspecified” security guarantees to North Korea, a gesture that its ambiguity coincides with Kim’s commitment to denuclearization.
• The third item, North Korea pledges to disarm its chemical weapons. This item is considered by the Guardian as the most important and problematic item among all items. On the one hand, it does not meet Washington’s long-term goal of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear arsenal completely, verifiable and irreversibly, On the other hand, it reaffirms Kim’s position after his summit with the South Korean president, while no observer of the case expects the North Korean leader to actually commit to dismantling his nuclear weapons as needed, let alone that it could take years, and cost billions of dollars.
In addition to that, the mentioned item fails to identify what is meant by the word “denuclearization weapon”, in Washington, Kim is required to give up his nuclear ambitions altogether, but North Korea’s interpretation of the issue is more complex. It could include the withdrawal of the US Nuclear umbrella from South Korea and the withdrawal of 28,500 US troops deployed along the southern border with the north.
• The last item, the newspaper says that the statement ignored to mention Japanese citizens kidnapped by Korean agents during the cold war, which may cause disappointment to Japanese officials, especially that Trump promised during a telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe to raise their case during his meeting with the North Korean leader.
International reactions, welcoming the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, echoed what others called “the century’s talks.” The handshake between them spread joys in Seoul with the hope of a new beginning with Pyongyang.
“We hope that the summit will be a success and give us full nuclear disarmament, peace and a new era ” in inter-Korean and US relations, said South Korean President Moon Jay.
The Korea Times newspaper welcomed the meeting as a step towards ending tensions on the Korean peninsula since some 70 years ago.
the paper said “The two leaders are certainly under great pressure to make the century’s talks a success,” . And added “We hope the summit will achieve a breakthrough to open a new era of peace and prosperity.”
Referring to the opening of a new page of understandings, the US president said at the end of the summit that he would stop “war games” on the Korean Peninsula.
For its part, China said the UN Security Council should lift sanctions against North Korea if it complied with UN resolutions and made progress in diplomatic negotiations and that Beijing “welcomes and supports” the talks to reach consensus on nuclear disarmament and set a mechanism for peace.
“The sanctions are not an objective. We believe that the Security Council must work to support diplomatic efforts at the moment.”
Russia is looking positively at the summit, but “the devil is in the details.” Ryabkov said Russia was ready to help implement what the two sides agreed to work on the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and hoped that the settlement of the nuclear crisis would open the door to normal economic cooperation.
The European Union hailed the Summit as an “important and necessary step” that would allow for the achievement of “total nuclear disarmament” on the Korean peninsula. “This summit is an important and necessary step to form the basis for the positive developments in Korean-Korean relations and on the peninsula so far,” EU External Relations Officer Federica Mugherini said in a statement.
And sees this as a step within a comprehensive solution. “Japan praises North Korea’s agreement to a complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament of nuclear weapons.
And a reference to Japan’s demand that Pyongyang to release all remaining Japanese kidnapped by it for the training of its spies.
Iran has warned Kim Jong-un of confidence in the US president, which said that he could cancel their agreement on nuclear disarmament within hours. “We do not know with whom the North Korean leader is negotiating, It is clear that he can cancel the agreement before he returns to his country. ” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobkhet was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Trump decided last month to withdraw from the nuclear deal signed with Iran in 2015, saying it was very flawed, and decided to re-impose sanctions on Iran.
in this context , the director of the International Energy Atomic Agency , Yukiya Amano welcomed the statement issued at the end of the summit , Amano said “I welcome President Trump and North Korean President Kim’s statement issued today at the Singapore summit and ensure the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons on the peninsula,”, referring to the willingness of his agency to carry out any activities necessary to verify the application of this.
After the two leaders concluded a 40-minute meeting in historic talks between the two countries, would they cooperate in building “new relations” and the United States would provide North Korea with “security assurances”, and in return, would North Korea confirm “its firm commitment to complete the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization from Nuclear weapons.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic studies