Recapping the American-North Korean Summit and the future of international relations


Samantha Unger

Amid a backdrop of North Korean and American flags, President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un shook hands to commence what would become the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean chairman. The June 12 summit in Singapore was aimed at reducing decades of tension between the two countries that intensified upon the new administration’s entrance into office, as well as working towards successfully denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. Despite the previous cancellation of the summit due to expectations that fell short, leaders and representatives of both countries met upon its reinstatement to discuss prevalent issues and mend unstable diplomatic relations.

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The four-hour-long summit outlined both countries’ objectives to maintain a progressive relationship and advance the possibility of peace between them, and the world, as a whole. Apart from discussing North Korea’s ambiguous promise to completely denuclearize, President Trump and Chairman Un discussed human rights issues and the reputation of North Korea. They agreed to recover the remains of American prisoners of war/those missing in action. While the United States was clear about guaranteeing greater security for the North and putting an end to the U.S. military drills in South Korea to lessen the appearance of provocation, the steps North Korea will take to fulfill their vows regarding nuclear weapons are still unclear. Regardless, the two leaders walked out of their meeting with grins and a shared sense of accomplishment. Ending the day with a news conference, President Trump answered questions about his interpretation of the summit’s success. He vowed to discuss human rights violations in greater depth with Kim and detailed his hopes of engaging North Korea with the rest of the world for prosperity on a global scale.

Although no firm bilateral agreement was signed during the summit regarding denuclearization, both parties were successful in easing rising tensions and threats across social media platforms. As of now, however, the future of the countries relations remains unpredictable. It is not certain that North Korea will be able to achieve total denuclearization, nor is it certain that the United States will reach its intended goals for peaceful relations with the North. It can be concluded, however, that the historic summit was a step forward on a road to a new era of enhanced communication, democratic relations, and a more peaceful world overall.

Hindustan Times

That said, what does it mean for the United States when the summit with North Korea went smoothly, and the summit with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May went so poorly? President Trump was greeted in London by protests and a large baby-shaped blimp in his image. Does Trump’s apparent cooperation with Kim bode well for our leader, or do we judge his character based on his uneasy meeting with May? Regardless, it surely has been a summer of polarizing international relations.