The United States and North Korean leaders met for the first time in Singapore on Tuesday and signed a document that promised to deescalate relations between the two countries and included a commitment by the North Korean’s to begin denuclearization.
The document that Kim Jung-Un and Donald Trump signed contains four main points in which their respective nations agreed to work toward.
These points are:
1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
While the document signed includes a commitment by the North Korean’s to denuclearise, US president Donald Trump mentioned separately after the signing that the US will be ending its joint military exercises with South Korea.
These exercises have long been viewed by the DPRK as “provocative” and that they were rehearsals for the invasion of the North. Donald Trump mirrored this sentiment by calling the war games “expensive” and “provocative”.
Trump then said he plans to withdraw US troops from the Korean peninsula, of which there are roughly 30,000, but mentioned that doing so isn’t “part of the equation right now.”
Doing so, however, could have major implications for the US’s military presence in the Asian Pacific which is primarily justified by the continued threat of North Korea to its allies in South Korea and Japan.
The establishment of real peace could result in the removal of the American troops in Korea, and perhaps the 40,000 more troops in Japan, further ceding political and military influence to China.
Interestingly, doing so may also increase the chances North Korea’s only real ally, China, supporting Korean reunification because it would remove the risk of the US moving troops directly onto its border with the peninsula.
While the meeting between the two nations was unprecedented, it isn’t clear how committed the US or North Korea are to the promises made in the document or afterwards and so far all language has amounted to commitments to pursue the stated actions.
Some have argued that the summit was a huge win for the North Korean regime because it gave them the political legitimacy that comes from meeting with the US president, which has long been denied to them.