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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Trump and Kim finally sign 'comprehensive' document

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US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a "comprehensive" document outlining a joint commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, capping a once unthinkable meeting of foes in Singapore with a breakthrough hailed by both sides on Tuesday.

Whether the agreement sets out any concrete targets is not immediately clear, with Trump promising details at a press conference later in the day. There's also no sign of the baseline set out by the White House ahead of the summit: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, reports straitstimes.com.

Still, both leaders - who appeared to have developed a rapport over the course of a morning filled with remarkable political theatre - touted the agreement as a significant stride forward.

Kim, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, said: "Today we had a very historic meeting, overcoming our past history and embarking on a new beginning...the world will see a major change."

Trump, in turn, said a turning point has been reached in the long fraught US-North Korea relationship. "We're both going to do something, and we've developed a very special bond...we're going to take care of a very big and dangerous problem for the rest of the world.

"It worked out far better for both of us than anybody could have expected," he added.When asked about denuclearization, he said "we are starting the process very quickly", but did not give any details.

The two leaders signed the document at an 80-year-old, 4.3 m-long teak wood table once used by Singapore's Chief Justices and on loan from the National Gallery.The two leaders sat side by side at the table and were flanked on either side by American and North Korean flags.

The day had started with a historic handshake between the two leaders at the luxury Capella Singapore hotel on Sentosa resort island.

At 9.04am, Trump and Kim strode into the courtyard at the hotel from separate sides, stood face to face for the first time and shared a 12-second handshake against a backdrop of American and North Korean flags.

The moment - tightly choreographed, with both men walking out at exactly the same time - was the culmination of weeks of uncertainty, false starts and finally, frenetic preparations on the part of the US, North Korea and Singapore.

From that point forward, the superlatives flowed. When asked how he felt as the two men sat down, Trump said: "I feel really great.  We're going to have a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. It will be tremendously successful. And it's my honor. And we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt."

Kim said: "It was not easy to get here. The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward.

But we overcame all of them, and we are here today".A 41-minute one-on-one meeting ended with the two leaders smiling and waving to the media from a balcony and Trump saying the discussion was "very very good".

Then at the extended bilateral meeting, Kim said he believed the summit was a "great prelude to peace", to which Trump agreed. "Of course there will be difficulties along the way, but as of today, a day that a good start has been made, I am determined to start a grand undertaking together," he added. 

After the signing ceremony, Trump told the media: "We had a terrific day and we learnt a lot about each other and our countries."

Calling Kim "a very worthy, very smart negotiator", Trump said: "He's a very talented man, I also learnt that he loves his country very much." He added: "We'll meet again, we'll meet many times"When asked if he would invite Kim to the White House, Trump said: "Absolutely, I will."

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