Trump, Kim shake hands to begin historic summit

This image depicts phone talks between South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Trump is in deal-making mode.

A new world can begin today, one of friendship, respect and goodwill. "The U.S. has yielded major concessions - the summit itself and the end of our defensive military exercises - in return for what appears to be a vague and undefined premise from the North Korean leader". From the choreographed handshake to show two leaders on equal footing to Trump's musings about beach front condos on the North Korean coast, the American president went out of his way to make one of the world's most grotesque tyrants feel like a statesman.

"We're going to denuke North Korea", Trump also told VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren, adding that USA troops stationed in South Korea will remain in place, but announcing one concession long-sought by North Korea not included in the document signed earlier in the day. But it's telling that the vague agreement reached at the summit does not include any language on verification, or even a timetable for next steps. They're getting rid of missile areas.

"Really, he's got a great personality", Trump told Van Susteren.

Trump can't help himself though.

At a solo press conference hours after the signing, Trump spelled out what kind of security guarantees he was talking about.

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"Do you now see Kim Jong Un as an equal?" asked a Time magazine correspondent. They have a great fervor. I never started it for no money. Be the hero of his people?. But since it was Donald Trump who raised that spectre, giving him credit for dispelling it would be like calling a man a life-saver when second thoughts stay his hand from murder. "I don't say he was nice". "We have to stop the nuclearization and that's a very important thing".

The former Chicago Bulls star said he tried talking to former US President Barack Obama.

Kim says through an interpreter that it "was not easy to get here" and that there "were obstacles but we overcame them to be here". The only person who did was the supreme leader to whom Obama wrote a series of respectful letters.

The US has long held the view that North Korea's illegitimate military activities can't be traded away for its right to do legitimate military activities. And then Trump walked onto the stage and explained that the film was not North Korean propaganda. He has said as much. But the North has long sought an end to the U.S. military presence in the South, where Washington has around 28,000 troops stationed to protect it from its neighbour. "The problem with Trump is that he thinks everything is about him", he tweeted in May.

We firmly reject any false equivalency between North Korea's illegal nuclear and missile programs, which are enormously destabilizing and have been repeatedly condemned by the UN Security Council, and our long-standing joint activities with our allies, which are transparent and defensive in nature.

Hume has criticized Trump, and his critics, at different points during his time in office.

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