A joint statement between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un noted plans to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but the commander-in-chief also indicated that U.S. troops might eventually be withdrawn from the region.
Here are the early winners and losers from the summit.
Winner: Kim Jong Un
Kim walked away from the summit with the a cozier relationship with President Trump, who said he was beloved in his homeland — despite running a military state and ordering the execution of his own uncle.
“His country does love him,” Trump to ABC News’ “Good Morning America” of Kim, who’s been accused of starving his own people. “I think they’re going to end up with a very strong county.”
The agreement potentially opens the door for normalized U.S. relations with North Korea, which has seen decreased trade after marathon sanctions by the United Nations.
Kim was the first North Korean leader to meet with a sitting President since his family took control of the nation nearly 70 years ago, and the meeting gives him added credibility on the world stage.
Loser: South Korea
Trump proclaimed he’s going to stop the annual “war games” with South Korea as the U.S. hashes out a denuclearization deal.
The commander-in-chief said the drills, which North Korea views as a threat, were too expensive — especially flying bombers from the U.S. territory of Guam more than six hours away.
“That’s a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place and then go back to Guam,” he said. “I know a lot about airplanes, it’s very expensive.”
That left the South Korean government confused, saying it needed to figure out the “accurate meaning and intention” of Trump’s statement, according to CNN.
The exercises are considered crucial to competing nations in Asia.
“They are something that shows U.S. resolve in the region, not only to North Korea but also more importantly to China,” one senior fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations told CBS News. “And it seems like there’s this whole idea of Trump as this great negotiator and yet he gave up one of the most important cards we have in the region, seemingly for free.”
Loser: U.S. military presence
The president added he wanted to eventually move U.S. troops off the South Korean peninsula, where they’ve been a constant presence since the early 1950s.
“I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home,” he told reporters. “But that’s not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually.”
South Korea hosts roughly 30,000 troops and is considered a strategic military location for the U.S., similarly to bases in Germany, Italy and Japan.
Even hawkish U.S. lawmakers who praised Trump’s meeting with Kim were worried about that suggestion, saying it could potentially cripple Uncle Sam’s global presence.
“I can’t imagine I would vote for any agreement that requires us to withdraw our forces,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday on NBC News’ “Today.”
Winner: Dennis Rodman
“The Worm” ventured to Singapore during the summit, but didn’t take part in the talks despite his infamous friendship with Kim.
Rodman – a five-time NBA champ – first visited the hermetic nation in 2013, and openly wept during a CNN appearance Tuesday about how the Obama administration “brushed me off” at the time.”
He told the network he got a call from the President’s “secretary,” not saying who, to applaud his early effort to reach out to Kim.
“She called me and said, ‘Dennis, Donald Trump is so proud of you. He thanks you a lot.’ And that means a lot,” Rodman said, sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat.
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