The long-anticipated meeting between the US and North Korean leaders has finally gone ahead.
Breaking: Trump has described the summit as “better than anybody could have expected”.
Trump also revealed the pair signed a “comprehensive document.” He told reporters he was confident the process of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula could commence “very quickly.”
The meeting between the two men in Singapore was the first of its kind between a sitting American president and a leader of North Korea, and opened the door ending seven decades of hostility and the threat of a nuclear confrontation.
“We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind,” Mr. Kim said as they signed the document. The contents of the document are not yet known.
Trump, Kim sign document at end of historic summit https://t.co/xxidtQBEbs
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) June 12, 2018
The pair met on the steps of the Capella hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island. Just after their historic first handshake, both leaders briefly spoke to the assembled media and expressed their optimism for the summit to reporters.
President Trump said he hoped the meeting would prove “tremendously successful” and predicted “a terrific relationship ahead”.
Speaking through a translator, the North Korean leader said: “The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles, but we have overcome them and we are here today.”
The pair then had a meeting of around 30 minutes with just their translators accompanying them. Following this initial talk, they went into a larger meeting with key advisers from both sides present including John Kelly (White House Chief of Staff), John Bolton (National Security Adviser), Matthew Pottinger (National Security Council Asia director), Stephen Miller (senior policy adviser) and Mike Pompeo (Secretary of State).
At this second talk, Trump again outlined his optimism for the talks.
History made as Trump-Kim summit goes 'better than anybody could have expected' https://t.co/GbEI45H71S
— The Independent (@Independent) June 12, 2018
“Mr Chairman, it’s a great honour to be with you, and I know we’ll have tremendous success together and we’ll solve a big problem – a big dilemma – that until this point has been unable to be solved, and working together we’ll get it taken care of,” he said.
The two shook hands again, before Trump added: “We will solve it, we will be successful, and I look forward to working on it with you. It will be done.”
Dan Scavino Jr, an assistant to President Trump tweeted a photo of the two leaders and various aides and officials at the working lunch that followed their meetings.
— Dan Scavino Jr.?? (@Scavino45) June 12, 2018
A first step towards denuclearisation?
The White House is hoping today’s talks will be the first of many as North Korea moves towards complete surrender of its nuclear weapons and testing facilities.
To date, North Korea has made a number of goodwill gestures including demolishing tunnels at its Punggye-ri nuclear test facility in the presence of international journalists and releasing three American citizens who had been detained on suspicion of espionage.
Despite the apparent progress, foreign affairs analysts have anticipated that little will come from today’s meeting in terms of concrete agreement.
North Korea has previously refused to denuclearise unless the US withdraws its military presence from South Korea and terminates a security arrangement which states it will retaliate in kind if its close allies are the target of a nuclear attack.
For its part, the US has said would not be discussing a possible withdrawal from South Korea at this round of talks.
These talks are the culmination of a lengthy process of back and forth which saw the meeting announced, cancelled and then finally rescheduled.
Reactions to the meeting
Meanwhile, there was widespread anger on social media after US network ABC interrupted popular reality show The Bachelorette with an update on the meeting. The show has more than six million viewers.
Don’t worry folks. #TheBachelorette will air in its entirety after the Special Report.
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) June 12, 2018
Another footnote to the summit came from colourful former basketballer Dennis Rodman who has previously befriended Kim Jong-un and made a tearful appearance on CNN to speak about
Wearing a T-shirt promoting PotCoin, described as “an ultra-secure digital cryptocurrency, network and banking solution for the $100 billion global legal marijuana industry”, Rodman wiped away tears forming under his dark sunglasses.
“I want to see us get along,” he said. “Have a handshake, have a smile, have a glass of iced tea. I don’t need to worry about the war stuff, I don’t know anything about that.”