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Trump, Kim hold historic summit in Singapore

 SINGAPORE, June 12 - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un today pledged to work toward the “complete denuclearisation” in return for security guarantees from the United States as President Donald Trump wrapped up his historic summit with outcomes that could ease tensions and reshape the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region.

“Yesterday’s conflict does not have to be tomorrow’s war,” Trump said following more than four hours of intense talks with Kim, which he described as “honest, direct and productive.” Trump said Kim “reaffirmed” his commitment to denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and also agreed to destroy a missile engine test site.

“We are ready to write a new chapter between our nations,” Trump told reporters after the much talked about summit – the first between a sitting US President and North Korea’s top leader.

He also announced that he would halt US military exercises in South Korea, something widely seen as a concession as Pyongyang has long claimed they are invasion rehearsals. The US President, however, said the sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear tests will remain for now.

Trump and Kim conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new relations between the two countries and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, according to a joint statement signed by the two leaders.

“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said. It said the two sides committed to recovering POW/MIA (prisoners of war and missing in action) remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

The document was signed after the two leaders had a one-on-one meeting, with translators only, followed by an expanded meeting, including their top aides and a working lunch at Capella Singapore hotel in Sentosa Island after months of diplomatic twists and turns.

“We signed a joint statement that is an unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of North Korea,” Trump said. He said the US is ‘prepared to start a new history’ with North Korea.

When asked about North Korea’s future economic model, Trump said it is for the country and its people to decide. He pointed out the real estate potential of its “great beaches” which can be seen on missile test footage.

Kim was asked at least three times if he would give up his nuclear weapons. In response, he just smiled. “There will be challenges ahead but we will work with Trump. We overcame all kinds of skepticism and speculation about this summit and I believe that this is good for the peace,” Kim said.

Earlier this morning, the summit began with the two leaders arriving separately at the luxurious hotel. They 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. They then appeared to share a few light-hearted words as they walked down a corridor to the hotel’s library.

The two leaders held one-on-one meeting for around 45 minutes with just translators present. Later, they held delegation-level talks.

According to North Korean media, Kim actually arrived at the venue seven minutes earlier than Trump to show respect as it’s cultural tradition and the young one should arrive earlier than the elder one. The red tie that Trump wears may also show some respect to Kim as well – it’s the colour that North Koreans like. – PTI

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