Trump-Kim Summit: Singapore’s Investment Pays Off

It may just be a piece of paper capturing the denuclearisation commitment of North Korea, without room for verifiable and irreversible monitoring, but the joint agreement is affirmation that Singapore’s $20-million investment on the Trump-Kim summit has paid off.

No fire and fury, no wrangling, no backing out of the joint statement and no threatening postures, only an environment of warmth as the stage is now set for follow-throughs!

The U.S. President, Mr Donald Trump, was full of optimism this evening when he took questions from journalists at a post-summit press conference, staying unruffled even when he was taunted by a lady reporter from NBC: “The man you met today has killed and starved his own people. Why are you calling him talented and why are you confident the agreement will work?”

Trump at Singapore press meet

All he would say during the course of the press meet that lasted more than an hour was “Kim Jong Un is a good man. There will be intense negotiations to enforce commitments.”

History is Anathema

I liked it when Mr Trump said: “The past does not have to define the future.” History, to me, is anathema and I do not like to quote from the past when forward-looking actions are called for. Getting hung up on what is history can only scuttle progress.

Not Time-Bound

The commitments are not time-bound with the agreement merely mentioning an “expeditious” fulfilment.

In response to a question, Mr Trump said human rights violations in North Korea were discussed, though not at great length as “the focus was on denuking.” He went on to add: “I didn’t want to be very threatening.”

Nonetheless, bringing back POW/MIA remains has been committed to in the agreement.

Asked who will fund the denuclearisation, Mr Trump said he expected South Korea and Japan to help with it.

Women Dominate Press Meet

One of the most striking parts of the press conference (that was streamed live) was that most of the questions came from women journalists, countering Mr Trump with add-on questions.

Also, foreign journalists, with more than 2500 having come to Singapore to cover the event, were mostly the ones firing the no-holds-barred questions.

The session is evidence that democratic principles are still valued by the U.S. though liberals tend to abuse it.

Usage Inconsistencies

The agreement is less than two pages and appears to have been hastily crafted, given the usage inconsistencies I noticed in a few sentences (this may sound trivial, but I still cannot help highlighting the discrepancies in such a high-profile document as this):

  1. “President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously.”
  2. “The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations…”
  3. “The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains…”
  4. “The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations,
  5. “…committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations”

If I were to use “commit to” in a sentence I will always follow it up with an “ing” participle.

Maybe it is an Americanism that I am ignorant of – precisely why I did not call it a grammatical inaccuracy. The inconsistency shows when in one of the sentences the “ing” participle has been used. That, to me, is the right way.

The trivia aside, the Trump-Kim summit has concluded on a positive note with an end in sight to the Korean conflict – and Singapore can be proud to have played a successful role in facilitating it.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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