Let’s peel away the showboating and take a cold, hard look at what US President Donald Trump has really achieved from his shopping list of objectives at his much-vaunted summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un.
Trump sees himself as a tough negotiator and deal broker.
Before his trip to the ‘historic’ Singapore Summit, he declared America wanted complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of the North Korean nuclear arsenal.
Did he get that in writing?
Snub from North Korea
The summit communique says Kim offers “to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.
That means when the bigger fish in the pond, such as China and the USA disarm, so will North Korea.
And Kim still must reveal if he has nuclear weapons, if so how many and what facilities are available to construct more.
So far, it’s a bum deal for Trump. He gets nothing, and North Korea has signed up to a vague promise to ditch their nuclear missiles.
Pyongyang has made no concession to allow inspections or verification of their denuclearisation. If the West has no idea of how many weapons North Korea might have and their capability to build more as a benchmark, how will anyone know if they are removed?
Also, Trump has promised to stop war games in South Korea, but not to withdraw US troops – what did Kim promise in return? Nothing.
But Kim won something even more valuable from the talks – credibility on the world stage when the North Korean PR machine processes the hours of video of Kim shaking hands at the top table of world affairs with the US President and being lauded by crowds in Singapore.
Pyongyang, where Kim heads the regime, is a brutal, dictatorial state where the population is almost regarded as slave labour, millions have died of hunger and human rights abuses are ignored.
Did Trump talk about this? Yes – it was mentioned for a minute, he said.
Singapore was a PR manipulation for Trump and Kim. They used the other to improve their image as world statesmen without sitting down to talk tough and push a deal. That’s why they were all smiles. Topics that may have led to disagreement were taboo.