VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The historic summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un has ended in a joint agreement, including a pledge on nuclear weapons from North Korea.
But there are still many questions about what comes next.
The general impression many political watchers are taking away from this summit is that talks went as well as could be hoped in the circumstances.
After all the rhetoric and name-calling, Trump and Kim shook hands.
“You’d be very surprised,” Trump saying at one point of the North Korean leader in an hour-long news conference. “Very smart, very good negotiator.”
What was accomplished during this historic meeting was the signing of a comprehensive document, with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
In his meeting with reporters, Trump revealed a major concession about the joint-military exercises that the US conducts with South Korea.
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should.”
For more on what this means, we’re hearing from UBC Professor Paul Evans, an expert in Asian affairs who has actually visited North Korea five times.
His sense is that talks were positive and constructive, even if the details are lacking in certain areas.
“There was a very interesting kind of human exchange, but they then got into the discussions and we don’t know the details but we do know the communique. And the communique is the most we could hope for out of this first gathering between these two very unlikely leaders.”
Evans calls this the first act in what hopefully concludes as a more comprehensive peace deal.
“I don’t think at this first kind of meeting it would have been possible to get into [specific] details,” says Evans. “Nor would it have been productive. This is going to be a very complicated process once you start getting into matters of timing, a kind of sequencing.
“But I think this was important in that it signals that Trump and his team are in this for a long term negotiation. I have a hunch we’ll be talking in six months, or a year, or two years still about the timing, what kind of inspections will be put in place, but what this basically signals is that from the American side, they didn’t come in with heavy, immediate demands. Nor did the North Koreans. This was the first act in what they hope, and what all of us hope, will be a multistep process.”
Meantime, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also commenting — saying he supports Trump’s efforts and looks forward to getting more details.
“Obviously we support the continuing efforts by the president on North Korea. We look forward to looking at the details of the agreement,” Trudeau says. However, the Canadian leader is still standing firm when it comes to the on going tariff and trade dispute with the US. “On his comments, as I said, I’m going to stay focused on defending jobs for Canadians and supporting Canadians.”