The Singapore Summit: what’s all the big fuss?

Image courtesy: ABC News (Australia)

By Joshua Boscaini | @j_boscaini

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have met in Singapore, and it is getting a lot of criticism.  

The two leaders met at Sentosa Island’s Capella Hotel—a meeting carefully constructed and heavily guarded by US, North Korean and Singaporean security departments and teams.

It was the first time a summit has been held between a North Korean Leader and a sitting President of the United States.

And it comes after months of uncertainty about whether it would go ahead or not.

Why Singapore?

CNBC.pngImage courtesy: CNBC

Singapore has fairly good relationships with both the US and North Korea, so it was seen as an ideal, neutral place to hold talks.

The city island nation is also secure, with the Singaporean Government having provided extra security for the high-profile event.

 What comes of the bargain?

abc australiaImage courtesy: ABC News (Australia)

The historic agreement and meeting saw the two leaders discuss peace and denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.

Their agreement says the US and North Korean relations will continue only in the interests of long-standing “peace and prosperity” on the Korean Peninsula.

It also outlines that North Korea will work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula–but without saying when.

Remains of American Prisoners of War in North Korea will also be sent to the US at the earliest possible time.

 North Korea has a poor track record of human rights abuses, considering past and present violences, and denied access for millions of people in need of basic humanitarian assistance like access to food and water—a reputation that has become well known on an international scale.

According to a UN report, around 80,000 to 120,000 North Koreans are currently being held in camps as political prisoners.

North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, has also ordered 340 people to be executed since coming to power in 2011.

But President Trump believes after the talking and negotiated deals, the world should start to see some change.

“I think I’ve helped them, because I think things will change. At a certain point, I really think he’s going to do something about it,” Mr Trump said.

“I think they are one of the great winners today… that large group of people that you are talking about. I think they will be one of the great winners as a group,” he said.

What are the critics saying?

Many critics of the agreement say the signed document provides no timeframe as to when North Korea would have to give up their nuclear weapons.

Some also say China is a winner in this agreement, because US troops would withdraw from South Korea—a demand China has been longing for.

The removal of American soldiers from the region would also give space for North Korea’s closest ally to fill the void.

But for now, with an agreement that is superficial and without many concrete details, it is all a waiting game to see if both parties hold their end of the bargain.

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