•Major disarmament by 2020
•Half of Americans approve of US President handling of Pyongyang
A jubilant-sounding United States President Donald Trump declared yesterday that his “deal” with President Kim Jong Un has ended North Korea’s nuclear threat and made the world safer, as he returned to Washington following the historic talks.
Even as experts weighed the implications of Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim, the US president struck a typically bullish note in a series of announcements. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” he asserted on Twitter.
Trump added that everybody “can now feel much safer than the day I took office” and people could “sleep well tonight!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to reporters in Seoul, said the US hopes to see “major disarmament” of North Korea by the end of 2020. His comments came a day after Trump and Kim meeting.
Pompeo said there was still “a great deal of work to do” with North Korea. But he added: “Major disarmament… We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the two and half years.” He said he was confident Pyongyang understood the need for verification that it was dismantling its nuclear programme.
Meanwhile, just over half of all Americans say they approve of how President Donald Trump has handled North Korea, but only a quarter think that his summit this week with Kim Jong Un will lead to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released yesterday.
Forty percent of those polled said they did not believe the countries would stick to their commitments. Another 26 percent said they believed the United States and North Korea would meet their commitments, while 34 percent said they did not know whether they would follow through.
Thirty-nine percent believe the summit has lowered the threat of nuclear war between the United States and nuclear-armed North Korea, slightly more than the 37 percent who said they did not believe it changed anything.
Critics said the unprecedented encounter between Kim and Trump was more style than substance, producing a document short on details about the key issue of Pyongyang’s atomic weapons.
In a joint statement, Kim pledged to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”, a stock phrase favored by Pyongyang that stopped short of longstanding US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a “verifiable” and “irreversible” way.