North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his commitment to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” in a written agreement with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
The four-point joint statement fell short of codifying the U.S. demand for “complete, verifiable and irreversible” dismantlement (CVID). It also did not specify a timeline or how to proceed with the denuclearization process, which Trump said would start “very, very quickly.”
“President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” it reads.
DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The statement was issued after the leaders’ unprecedented summit at the Capella Hotel on the Singaporean resort island of Sentosa.
In the agreement, the two sides also committed to establishing “new” bilateral relations and making joint efforts to build a “lasting and stable” peace regime on the peninsula.
In addition, they agreed to recover the remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action during the 1950-53 Korean War, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
The two leaders agreed to implement what is stipulated in the statement “fully and expeditiously.”
Though it marked a milestone in the checkered history of U.S.-North Korea relations, the agreement is expected to draw criticism from those who wanted to see specifics from any agreement.
In the April 27 inter-Korean summit declaration, Kim also mentioned complete denuclearization. Some criticized the declaration as “too vague and general,” calling for a clear definition of the North’s nuclear disarmament.
The summit followed weeks of grueling negotiations over sensitive issues such as the sequence and pace of the North’s nuclear disarmament.
Washington has hammered away at its longstanding demand for the CVID, while Pyongyang has favored an incremental process, long criticized as a strategy to wring out more economic benefits.
Both U.S. and South Korean officials have anticipated that the summit will mark the “start” of a denuclearization process in an indication that it may take time.
Trump and Kim arrived in the Southeast Asian country on Sunday. They are set to leave later on Tuesday.
China expressed welcome and support for the North Korea-United States summit held in Singapore on Tuesday, saying the joint declaration made by Pyongyang and Washington marked a milestone to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman of China’s Foreign Ministry, said Beijing wishes to play a constructive role to help implement the summit agreement during a regular press briefing after being asked by a Yonhap News reporter to comment on the summit declaration.
“The international community has paid attention to the North Korea-U.S. summit in Singapore. As Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, it is very important and positively meaningful that the leaders of the two countries held dialogue on an equal footing,” Geng said.
“New history has been made and China welcomes and supports it. This is also a goal that contains China’s expectations and efforts.”
He then expressed the wish that North Korea and the U.S. would remove obstacles, build mutual confidence and take substantial steps to attain denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“We wish all related countries join the efforts, and China will play its own constructive role,” the spokesman said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also expressed support over the summit, saying the joint statement reflected Kim’s willingness to seek the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Abe also vowed to expand cooperation with the international community, including Washington, Beijing, Seoul, and Moscow, to settle various agendas surrounding North Korea, especially the return of Japanese abductees in Pyongyang.
“I highly praise and appreciate President Trump for mentioning the issue of abduction (of Japaneses by North Korea) to Kim, which is an important issue for Japan,” Abe told reporters.
Abe also said Tokyo will directly negotiate with Pyongyang to have Japanese abductees return home.