Historic DPRK-U.S. summit ignites hope for peace on Korean Peninsula

2018-06-12 22:37:55Xinhua Editor : Wang Fan ECNS App Download

For the first time, the sitting leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States shook hands here on Tuesday under intense global gaze.

Just past 8:00 a.m. (0000 GMT), a motorcade carrying U.S. President Donald Trump left the Shangri-La Hotel for the Capella Hotel in Singapore's Sentosa Island. A few minutes later, DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un's motorcade departed for the summit.

Five minutes before 9:00 a.m. (0100 GMT), a serious-looking Kim, with glasses in one hand and a folder in the other, walked inside the building, followed by Trump wearing a dark-blue suit and a red tie.

At 9:04 a.m. (0104 GMT), the two leaders walked slowly up to each other in the two corridors on each side of the building, and met at the entrance against the backdrop of six DPRK flags and six U.S. flags.

"This is just a new beginning," Trump said, shaking hands with Kim for more than 10 seconds. Kim smiled and nodded.

After posing for the cameras, the two leaders talked privately for a little while. Then they entered a room to start their one-on-one talks.

Trump predicted that the discussion would be "tremendously successful". "We will have a terrific relationship. I have no doubt," he said.

Kim laughed on hearing this. "The way coming here was not easy. We had the past that grabbed our ankles and old prejudices and practices that covered our eyes and ears. We are here after overcoming all these," he said.

"That's true," Trump agreed, shaking Kim's hand again and giving him a thumbs-up. Then the reporters were cleared out the room.

At 9:56 a.m. (0156 GMT), Kim and Trump re-emerged, sitting face-to-face with their top aides.

"Working together, we'll get it taken care of," Trump said to Kim, referring to the Korean Peninsula denuclearization issue.

In response, Kim said he will "cooperate with President Trump to resolve the challenges ahead" and to overcome the skepticism and speculations about their summit.

Trump said, "We will solve it. We will be successful. I look forward to working with you. It will be done."

At noon, the two leaders had a working lunch together when they chatted.

About one hour later, they took a short walk around the hotel. Trump told reporters that things went "better than anybody could have expected," and they were going to sign a document.

At the signing ceremony, Trump said the document was "important" and "comprehensive".

Kim called it "a historic document," saying the two sides will "leave the past behind" and the world will "see a major change."

Then he signed the document, a joint statement both in Korean and English, with a pen with "Kim Jong Un" engraved on it.

Asked about the Korean Peninsula denuclearization, Trump said, "We are starting that process very, very quickly, absolutely."

In the joint statement, the DPRK and the United States were committed to establish a new relationship, and the DPRK was committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Both sides were also committed to make joint efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and recover the remains of the prisoners of war and those missing in action in the Korean War (1950-53).

Since the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, the DPRK and the United States had been locked in confrontational rhetoric and behavior.

But things took a dramatic turn this year when the DPRK dispatched its athletes to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Later, Kim made two trips to China, and met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in twice in one month. He also extended an invitation to Trump for a meeting, which was accepted by the U.S. president.

However, the meeting was not roses all the way. In late May, Trump abruptly decided to withdraw from the summit. In a letter to Kim, the U.S. leader said he felt it "inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

Now that the two leaders have finally had their handshake, the world is waiting to see what happens next.

According to Lee Sang-man, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University in Seoul, the fact that Kim and Trump sat down at the same table and talked is "epoch-making".

"The DPRK-U.S. summit itself (is) a first step toward opening a new era of (a) denuclearized Korean Peninsula," he said.



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