US applauds Trump-Kim summit, skepticism remains

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/6/13 10:36:08

US lawmakers and scholars on Tuesday applauded the landmark summit between US President Donald Trump and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s top leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, while some skepticism lingered on.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday praised the much-anticipated meeting between the sitting leaders of Washington and Pyongyang at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa resort island.

McConnell, a heavyweight republican from Kentucky, called the meeting "an historic first step in negotiations," noting that "the next steps in negotiation will test whether we can get to a verifiable deal."

Republican Senator Bob Corker said in a statement that he was glad that President Trump and Kim were able to meet.

Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said he looked forward to having US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "before our committee soon to share his insights."

Following their meeting, Trump and Kim on Tuesday signed a "comprehensive" joint statement, which said the United States would be committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK in exchange for Pyongyang's commitment to a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump, speaking to reporters after the summit, revealed that Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton would meet with DPRK officials next week for further nuclear talks.

Compared with Republicans, Democratic lawmakers kept a more skeptical view on the outcome of the on-again-off-again diplomatic event.

Senior Democratic Senator Bob Menendez blasted the agreement reached by the two sides as a deal "without setting timelines or providing any details on a pathway forward on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

"Getting a deal is the easy part. Executing a strategy with verifiable steps is the hard part," said the senator from New Jersey.

Experts on foreign relations recognized the summit as a big step toward lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, while acknowledging that it would not produce once-for-all solutions.

For Kyle Ferrier, an analyst of the Washington-based non-profit Korea Economic Institute of America, the public portion of the half-a-day meeting was "more about optics and pleasantries."

For Washington, "the meetings were more about trust-building and working to establish a framework for the future rather than making any big concessions right now," Ferrier told Xinhua.

The scholar added that the joint statement issued after the meeting was "probably the best we could have hoped for."

According to the statement, Trump and Kim conducted a "comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions" on issues related to the establishment of a new US-DPRK relationship and building a lasting and robust peace regime on the peninsula.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank, thought that the "good news" from the Singapore summit was that it "initiated a diplomatic process."

"War seems much more distant than it did just months ago," the expert said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Haass pointed out that the "bad news" is "that 'potential' is the operative word here."

Echoing concerns from the lawmakers, the experts were alert about the verification process of the denuclearization.

"There will be milestones along the way that will need to be certified by outside observers. It remains to be seen how that process will take place," Darrell West, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua.

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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