North Korea wasted no time on Wednesday spinning the results in its favor, claiming Trump had promised to eventually lift sanctions against the North and to end joint military drills with South Korea in exchange for a phased, “step-by-step” denuclearization process for the North. Questions remain: under what terms, and by when, is Kim going to denuclearize his country? What does he mean when he says he is committed to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula?”
The joint statement that Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump signed on Tuesday contained vaguely worded commitments to “complete denuclearization,” “new” relations between their countries and a “peace regime” on the peninsula. In many ways, it was a rehash of agreements that the two nations had reached in the past but never honored.
Trump announced that the United States would end joint military exercises with its South Korean allies, which appeared to catch both the South Korean government and the United States military off-guard.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Mr. Trump had agreed to “lift sanctions” once bilateral relations improve. Trump had said on Tuesday that the sanctions would stay in place until North Korea dismantled enough of its nuclear program to make it difficult to reverse course.
But the agreement lacks any detail on denuclearization, raising fears among analysts that once negotiators wade into the specifics, the talks could end in stalemate, as they have after past nuclear disarmament accords.