Made-for-TV summit puts Trump the Showman in spotlight

13 June, 2018, 23:12 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump

When asked whether Trump was jumping the gun by declaring victory, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters: "This president wants North Korea to completely denuclearize so obviously that has to be complete, verifiable and irreversible. It's a win for Kim Jong Un". They met in the middle, on a red carpet, dozens of cameras recording their every move as the world watched.

How did South Korea react? The report said they "celebrated" Kim "on the success of the summit".

However, South Korean officials said they had no prior knowledge of the end of military exercises, pointing out that they were "vital" to east Asian security.

Tuesday's summit in Singapore was front page news on Wednesday, with full-page spreads of photos of Mr Kim and Mr Trump and details about the meeting.

It was a single, quintessentially human moment - a greeting, a welcome, a start of a relationship - but the reaction to the handshake was as complicated as the standoff that the two countries these men represent have been locked in for seven decades now.

"Despite its many flaws", Cha wrote, "the Singapore summit represents the start of a diplomatic process that takes us away from the brink of war".

Trump's early exit will be his second from a summit in just a few days.

Both Koreas have long demonized the other's national flag. Euan Graham, International Security Director at the Lowy Institute, previously told Business Insider that North Korean media "will cut and splice to show Kim in the most favorable light".

Japan has maintained a hardline position on North Korea despite a whirlwind of diplomacy towards Pyongyang in recent months, and has been left largely on the sidelines as South Korea and the United States have held talks with Kim.

However, many South Koreans rushed to express their awe of Tuesday's events.


The administration's argument is that the incremental approach used by past administrations has allowed North Korea to extract rewards and incentives from the USA, only to ultimately renege and refuse to give up its nukes.

Trump's remarks also caused confusion among his Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

Trump, who returned to Washington early on Wednesday, hailed the meeting with Kim, the first between a sitting USA president and a North Korean leader, as a success that had removed the North Korean nuclear threat.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee.

A presidential spokesman, in a cautious response, said Seoul needed to understand "the exact meaning and intention" of Trump's remarks. Associated Press writers Foster Klug and Adam Schrek in Singapore; Eric Talmadge in Pyongyang, North Korea; Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed.

Trump's comment that the threat was now over was unlikely to provide relief to Japan and South Korea, both home to large US military presences, as both expressed concerns over his decision to halt the military exercises, which Pyongyang has long claimed are preparations for an invasion. Kim's image would now be bolstered, critics said.

"When you objectively do the arithmetic this comes out overwhelmingly in Kim Jong-un's favour".

Trump said he also agreed to destroy a missile engine test site. "I think it's inappropriate to be having war games".

Trump left that summit early and, as he flew to Singapore, tweeted that he was yanking the USA out of the group's traditional closing statement. "But there was a great deal of work done that is beyond what was seen in the final document that will be the place that we will begin when we return to our conversations".

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