Kim invites Trump to visit Pyongyang as North hails 'radical switchover'

2018-06-13 01:41:07 GMT2018-06-13 09:41:07(Beijing Time) Sina English

Kim Jong Un invited Donald Trump to visit North Korea during their historic summit and the US President accepted, Pyongyang state media reported on Wednesday, calling it the start of a "radical switchover" in the nuclear-armed Cold War foes' fraught relations.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at a signing ceremony with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) during their historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on Jun 12, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP)  North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at a signing ceremony with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) during their historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on Jun 12, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Kim agreed to the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", a stock phrase favoured by Pyongyang that stopped short of long-standing US demands for North Korea to give up its atomic arsenal in a "verifiable" and "irreversible" way.

In its first report on the landmark summit, the official KCNA news agency ran a glowing dispatch on the talks, describing them as an "epoch-making meeting" that would help foster "a radical switchover in the most hostile (North Korea)-US relations".

The report said the two men each asked the other to visit their country.

"The two top leaders gladly accepted each other's invitation," KCNA said.

In a blockbusting press conference after the summit, Trump said the US would halt military exercises with Seoul - something long sought by Pyongyang, which claims the drills are a rehearsal for invasion.

"We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," Trump told reporters, adding that "at some point" he wanted to withdraw US troops from the South.

Both Seoul and US military commanders in the South indicated they had no idea the announcement was coming, and analysts expressed immediate concern.

Ending the drills "is in excess of all expert consensus, South Korean requests, and even a close reading of North Korean demands", said Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists.

The KCNA report said Trump committed to ending the drills during his meeting with Kim.

It added that denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula would be dependent on the two sides "refraining from antagonising ... each other out of mutual understanding".

SMILES AND HANDSHAKES

The Singapore summit was a potentially legacy-defining meeting for both men - comparable to president Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, or Ronald Reagan's 1986 summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.

World powers from China to Japan, the European Union and Russia welcomed its outcome - while cautioning it was only the first step towards resolving the nuclear stand-off with Pyongyang.

Many agreements have been made in the past with North Korea that have later fallen apart, and ahead of the meeting, critics expressed concerns that it risked being more about headlines than substantive progress.

Trump said he had formed a "special bond" with Kim, whom he described as "very talented".

KCNA said the two leaders ate and walked together, "deepening friendly feelings" towards each other.

After a day filled with smiles and handshakes watched around the world, the US "committed to provide security guarantees" to North Korea, while Pyongyang committed to "work towards" denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Speaking later as he flew out of Singapore bound for the US territory of Guam - towards which Pyongyang last year threatened to lob missiles - Trump said he intended to hold North Korea to its word on denuclearisation.

"We're going to have to check it and we will check it. We'll check it very strongly," he told reporters on Air Force One.

Agencies

| PRINT | RSS
Add Comment