President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at a historic summit in Singapore on June 11 and signed a joint statement at the conclusion of their meeting, pledging denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
After meeting with Kim, Trump held a news conference in Singapore with members of the press. At the conference, Trump said, “Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirms his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Continuing, he stated:
Chairman Kim has told me that North Korea is already destroying a major missile engine testing site. That’s not in your signed document; we agreed to that after the agreement was signed. That’s a big thing. For the missiles that they were testing, the site is going to be destroyed very soon.
Trump is very likely aware that communist leaders have not kept such promises in the past because he said: “In the meantime, the sanctions will remain in effect.”
A reporter asked the president if the assurances he gave to Kim included reducing the U.S. military capabilities in South Korea.
Trump answered, “We’re not reducing anything…. I used to say this during my campaign.… I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home."
“We have right now 32,000 soldiers in South Korea. And I’d like to be able to bring them back home, but that’s not part of the equation right now. At some point I hope it will be, but not right now.”
Though the North Koreans did not make the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea part of the negotiations, it is something that American noninterventionists have been calling for for years, so they will find Trump’s statement disappointing.
Despite the promising rhetoric, a Reuters report cited several unnamed experts who said the summit failed to secure any concrete commitments by North Korea for dismantling its nuclear arsenal.
Image of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un: Screenshot from video shot by CBS News