It’s been months in the making—and in between the hills and valleys of international politics—the US President and leader of North Korea met on Tuesday to talk denuclearization, military action, national peace, and to forge a relationship between two countries that haven’t officially spoken to one another in decades.
On Tuesday President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un joined together at a historic summit that could mark the first steps to total denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula. In exchange, the United States made promises to guarantee measures of security and to pull back on regular military exercises with South Korea. The negotiations could mark a radical shift in global politics. The two met in Singapore and a news conference was held after hours of deliberation to make their announcements.
While the outlook may seem hopeful after the summit’s conclusion, many analysts and political experts are exercising caution over whether North Korea will truly follow through with its pledges for total denuclearization.
“As negotiations now advance, there is only one acceptable final outcome: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization,” House speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. “We must always be clear that we are dealing with a brutal regime with a long history of deceit.”
Experts first voiced their concern after a signed document from both leaders was shown that offered scant details about how North Korea will commit towards reducing its nuclear arsenal. Trump made it clear that existing sanctions against North Korea would remain in place until the country could confirm it has eliminated its nuclear arsenal. Prior to the summit, Kim announced the country was in the process of destroying a major missile engine testing site.
Most skeptics point to the lengthy amount of time it would take for North Korea to achieve total denuclearization. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association explained in an interview with the Washington Post that the summit is a good way to judge whether the country will take steps toward peace but acknowledges it could be some time before we see results.
“North Korea has dozens of major nuclear and missile sites — hundreds of buildings,” Kimball said. “They’ve got 10 to 60 nuclear devices. They have a nuclear testing site. They have production reactors. It will take a considerable amount of time, even with the best of cooperation, to disable, dismantle and disassemble that infrastructure. It will require unprecedented monitoring by international inspectors to confirm that it’s happened.”
Whether Tuesday’s summit ultimately results in nuclear disarmament for the Korean Peninsula and peace for the volatile region is unsure, the motion for America to extend its hand to one of the country’s longtime adversaries will forever instantiate Trump’s presidential legacy.
"We both want to do something. We both are going to do something. And we have developed a very special bond," Trump said at the conclusion of the landmark summit. "People are going to be very impressed. People are going to be very happy."