Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s historic Singapore summit is one that left supporters raving and critics confused. And although the president and dictator laid out some future plans, there are still plenty of unanswered questions about how smoothly things will actually run. Here’s everything that went down during the summit, plus all the missing pieces we’re still waiting to find out.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un met for the first time at the Singapore Summit
The long-awaited summit in Singapore finally happened at 9:00 a.m. local time on June 12. The two leaders met to discuss the future of their friendship. Topics on the table were North Korea’s denuclearization, North Korea’s human rights issues, the U.S.’s troops in South Korea, and more. After about five hours of talks, both leaders emerged with what seemed to be complete joy over the conversations they had just had. But many people around the country aren’t as convinced of this newfound relationship.
Next: Handshakes say a lot.
Their handshake lasted a whopping 11 seconds
Handshakes are historic. And Trump meeting face-to-face with Kim was a historic moment, regardless of how it ends. But when CNN asked experts to weigh in on what this handshake actually means for America’s future, most people were on the fence. Professor Katharine Moon said, “Their signed joint statement lists aspirations and without a single word of substantive commitment by either side.” Professor Vipin Narang said the summit simply bought both sides some extra time.
Next: Here’s what Trump called for.
Trump called for complete denuclearization, and Kim agreed
Trump said that in order for the U.S. and North Korea to ever get on the right foot, Kim would have to completely denuclearize his country. To rewind, Kim had been threatening other countries with nuclear war for years. He often conducted tests and sent videos to other nations to show his progress and keep the rest of the world on its toes. And while Kim agreed to remove all nuclear weapons, not much more was said besides the vague agreement to do so.
Next: These are the missing details Americans are confused about.
The two did not discuss deadlines or verification
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for Americans from this summit is the question, “What exactly got accomplished?” While Trump did lessen the tension between the two countries, at least for now, no one is to say the tension won’t rise again quickly. (In fact, just a few weeks ago, both sides threatened to cancel the summit as tensions rose once more.) And without a definitive timeline, the American people can’t possibly get on board with Trump’s historic summit. For now, the face-to-face meeting of the two leaders is the only history that’s been made.
Next: Some say Kim got everything he wanted, but we didn’t.
But Kim seemed to get the better end of the deal
Trump appeared to be more concerned with making history than with actually giving the U.S. a solid deal. Yes, Kim said he would implement complete denuclearization, but he gave no timeline or verification as to how or when that would happen. And just within the past year, Kim has threatened nuclear war on the U.S. multiple times. Meanwhile, Trump promised better security for North Korea and said he would end “war games” with the U.S. and South Korea. So while it looks like Kim is getting what he wanted, it’s hard to tell if he will actually hold up his end of the deal.
Next: Trump was quick to add the summit to his ‘legacy’
Trump sees the summit as a part of his legacy, but not all Americans are so sure
“We’re prepared to start a new history, and we’re ready to write a new chapter,” Trump said at his news conference after the summit. Kim said, “The world will see major change.” But it’s hard to deny the skepticism of Americans, especially since the media is not convinced. Plus, even if tensions with North Korea simmer, USA Today reported that Trump described Kim as a leader who could be trusted. This comes just days after Trump’s harsh comments about Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister. And it’s hard to agree with a leader who makes positive comments about North Korea and negative comments about Canada.
Next: Trump had several TV interviews after the summit to further his point.
Trump went on several television interviews afterward to convince the public of the summit’s success
Trump wasted no time expressing his triumph about his meeting with Kim. Soon after the meeting concluded, Trump immediately took several television interviews in an effort to get the public on his side. Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, and George Stephanopoulos all interviewed the president, where Trump shared his take on the summit. Plus, Trump’s interview with ABC’s Stephanopoulos was his first in more than a year with a major network other than Fox. Trump defended his compliments to Kim and said the North Korean dictator is serious about changing his ways.
But while Trump defends leaders like Kim and Putin, he attacks the leaders of some of our greatest allies.
Next: It could take years to determine the summit’s success.
But whether the summit was successful could take years to determine
One thing is certain: If Trump’s meeting with Kim was enough to change the course of history, we won’t know for a while. The process of denuclearizing the entire country could take years. And Trump’s presidency will be long over by then. But for now, the meeting is the most hopeful thing to happen between the U.S. and North Korea. And unless Trump is definitely proven wrong, we’ll have to go with him on this.
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