Following four hours of talks behind closed doors with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced during a press conference that America will halt its “provocative” joint war games with South Korea in return for the North’s commitment to starting the denuclearization process “right away.”
“I believe this is a big prelude to peace,” Kim told reporters on Tuesday. “There will also be big challenges ahead but I’m willing to do this.”
Watch Trump’s announcement:
Beatrice Finn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, added:
Trump’s decision to suspend military exercises on the Korean Peninsula—which have long been perceived by the North as a simulation of all-out war—was applauded by independent analysts as a crucial step toward lasting peace in the region.
Tim Shorrock, a Korea expert who is in Singapore for the historic summit, called the end of U.S.-South Korea war games a “huge deal.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose “masterful diplomacy” laid the groundwork for peace talks even as Trump and his advisers continued to hurl threats and insults, applauded signs of significant progress in U.S.-North Korea relations in a statement on Tuesday.
“I join all the people in ardently aspiring for the success of the summit to bring complete denuclearization and peace to us and usher in a new era among the two Koreas and the United States,” Moon said.
As Tuesday’s summit in Singapore came to a close, Trump and Kim signed and released a joint statement affirming their commitment to “the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”
While acknowledging that the document is vague and “thin,” Christine Ahn, founder of the peace group Women Cross DMZ, applauded the joint statement as “bold in reorienting relations between historic adversaries.”
“The compass has been set, it’s time to ensure that these principles are followed through with concrete action, and this is where it is crucial for civil society, especially women’s groups, step in,” Ahn concluded.