Forty-eight hours after the world saw a historic summit between the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, the leaders are making assuaging claims to their domestic audience to justify the summit meeting.
In North Korea, leader Kim Jong Un said Donald Trump offered to lift sanctions against his regime when they met Tuesday in Singapore, state media reported, a claim that contrasts with the U.S. president’s rhetoric that the economic strictures would remain.
The report from the Korean Central News Agency, which was published after Kim returned home from his meeting, noted Trump’s vow to suspend U.S. military drills in South Korea. It also said Trump committed to unspecified “security guarantees” for Pyongyang, and to “lift sanctions against it.”
Trump said sanctions would stay, at least until the isolated nation moved to give up its nuclear arsenal. But there have been slight differences in recent comments among senior U.S. officials as to whether that means North Korea must first complete denuclearization -- and have it verified -- or if some goodwill steps would be enough.
Meanwhile back in the States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped to see "major disarmament" by North Korea by the end of 2020. Speaking in South Korea, where he discussed the outcome of the summit, Secretary Pompeo said there was still "a great deal of work to do" with North Korea.
But he added, "Major disarmament... We're hopeful that we can achieve that in the two and half years."
He said he was confident Pyongyang understood the need for verification that it was dismantling its nuclear programme.
In the joint document signed by the two leaders, North Korea agreed to work towards "complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula". But the document has been criticised for lacking details on when or how Pyongyang would give up its nuclear weapons.
Pompeo’s comments come after President Trump declared that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat, saying "everybody can now feel much safer".
The declaration signed at the end of the summit said the two countries would co-operate towards "new relations", while the U.S. would provide "security guarantees" to North Korea.
Pyongyang in return "commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".