Merkley: Trump-Kim summit a 'colossal disappointment'

Merkley: Trump-Kim summit a 'colossal disappointment'

"At the same time, there needs to be a peace mechanism for the peninsula, to resolve North Korea's reasonable security concerns".

Moments after President Donald Trump shook North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's hand for the first time, Trump pronounced: "We will have a terrific relationship".

He also thanked President Trump for talking to Kim Jong-un about Japanese citizens who were kidnapped and taken to North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. It is good that North Korea has ceased testing missiles and nuclear weapons, but that is instantly reversible and arguably not worth the irreversible gains Kim pocketed in terms of de facto sanctions relief and prestige.

Hours earlier as he sat alongside Kim at the signing ceremony, Trump said the two leaders "have developed a special bond" and that after their several hours of talks Tuesday and the signing of the agreement he thinks the US relationship with North Korea "will be very different than in the past".

A meeting between the leaders of both South Korea and North Korea in April also boosted optimism and intrigue in the city.

It also demands less than the Bush administration's six-party talks, the 2003 negotiations involving the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russian Federation.

Beijing has long proposed a "suspension for suspension" plan where the USA suspends its military exercises and North Korea suspends its missile tests.

A few other conservatives expressed dismay at seeing the USA and North Korean flags side-by-side, and viewed Mr Trump's solicitous manner and warm words for Mr Kim as too much, given his nation's history of human rights violations.

Trump's upside-down calculus, which allowed strategic adversaries China and North Korea to gain at the expense of steadfast allies, echoed the tussle that erupted at last week's Group of Seven meetings in Quebec. Following the G-7, he backed out of a joint communique signed by the six other members, and insulted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "weak" and "dishonest" for criticizing USA tariffs.

It's important to remember, however, that from now on US leverage will dwindle. Journalists in attendance reported that the North Korean leader appeared "stunned" by the remarks - although he reportedly smiled after sitting down.

According to a joint statement signed at the end of the summit, both parties agreed on the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, although few specific plans have been laid out on the removing North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

Several reporters asked whether Mr Trump had raised the issue of human rights with Mr Kim, who runs a totalitarian regime with extreme censorship and forced-labour camps.

"I think they are one of the great winners today", he said.

The US would suspend "provocative" war games it holds with South Korea.

Trump also agreed to halt joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea on the Korean Peninsula, though that decision seemed to surprise both Seoul and the Pentagon. The U.S. president brushed off questions about his public embrace of the autocrat whose people have been oppressed for decades.

How did South Korea react?

The U.S. leader stressed that existing U.S. sanctions will remain in place until North Korean nuclear weapons "are no longer a factor".

"The fact that we are moving towards a peace agreement and denuclearization on the Korean peninsula - however slow that process might be - is tremendous progress", she said.

Interested in North Korea?

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep scepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the United States and the North.

In the future, expert counsel on Kim's intentions may clash with Trump's positive perception of the North Korean leader. Any instability - or alternatively, a deal that leads to a US -aligned unified Korea - potentially could put American troops on its border. "New history has been made, and China welcomes and supports it", said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry.

Supporters of Tuesday's agreement say it serves as a starting point for more meaningful discussions.

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