The much-anticipated meet between the United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un finally took place on Tuesday in Singapore in what the media called ‘talks of the century’. Both the leaders pledged to leave the past behind and work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula as Washington said that it is committed to providing security guarantees for its old enemy.
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” said a joint statement released after the meeting.
While talking to media, Donald Trump said that he expects the denuclearisation process to start “very, very quickly”. Even though there was no reference of signing a peace treaty, the joint statement did say the two sides had agreed to recover the remains of prisoners of war and of those missing in action and repatriating them.
After the meet, Trump was full of praise for his counterpart. The 71-year-old US President said that the summit worked out far better than expected and he’s developed a “very special bond” with 34-year-old Kim. He said that he was proud of what happened and the two leaders would “take care of a very dangerous problem for the world.”
Asked whether he would invite Kim to the White House, Trump said: “Absolutely, I will.” He called Kim “very smart” and a “very worthy, very hard negotiator.”
The newfound bonhomie on display between the two leaders was the talk of local media. What is interesting is that it took only seven months for Donald Trump to change his view of the North Korean leader. On November 12, 2017 — exactly seven months before the meet, the US President had hit out at his counterpart by calling him ‘short and fat’.
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!” Trump had said in a tweet.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
This war of words began when Trump gave a speech to South Korea’s National Assembly during his Asia trip issuing a stern warning against North Korea. “Do not underestimate us, and do not try us,” he had said.
To this, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry responded on November 11 by saying, “The reckless remarks by a dotard like Trump can never frighten us or put a stop to our advance.”
The word ‘Dotard’ was translated to ‘old lunatic’ by Korean Central News Agency — North Korea’s state-run media organization. Earlier, in September last year, Kim himself had used that word for Trump. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” he had said.
On Tuesday, however, the two leaders showed respect for each other through their gestures. According to North Korean media, Kim had arrived at the venue 7 minutes earlier than Trump to show respect as it’s cultural, the young one should arrive earlier than the elder one.
The US Prez, on the other hand, wore a red tie (the colour that North Koreans like) to show respect towards Kim.
The two leaders had arrived separately for the meet and walked towards each other, stood face to face for the first time and shared a 12-second handshake against a backdrop of American and North Korean flags.
Trump and Kim are the first leaders of their respective countries to meet, marking the culmination of months of diplomatic wrangling and negotiations.
After their meeting, Trump joined Kim for a working lunch which had a mix of Western and Asian dishes, such as Korean stuffed cucumber and beef short rib confit with some Haagen-Dazs ice cream to top things off.
The two leaders then took a post-lunch stroll in the courtyard of the hotel.