North Korea’s state media lauded the summit between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President Donald Trump as a resounding success, highlighting concessions by the US president and the prospect of a new era of peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday that Trump expressed his intention to halt US-South Korea joint military exercises, offer security guarantees to the North and lift sanctions against it as relations improve.
KCNA also reported that the two leaders have agreed during their breakthrough summit to visit each other’s country at an unspecified time.
The news agency said that Kim invited Trump to visit Pyongyang “at a convenient time” and that Trump also invited Kim to visit the US.
KCNA said the two leaders “gladly accepted each other’s invitation, convinced that it would serve as another important occasion for improved” relations between their countries.
No sitting US and North Korean leaders have visited each other’s countries since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Pyongyang also confirmed Trump’s declaration on Tuesday that the US would halt joint military drills with South Korea.
KCNA quotes Kim as saying it’s “urgent to make a bold decision on halting irritating and hostile military actions against each other”.
Annual military drills between the US and South Korea have been a major source of tension on the Korean Peninsula. The North has called them an invasion rehearsal and responded with its own weapons tests.
KCNA said the US president expressed his intention to offer security guarantees to North Korea and lift sanctions “over a period of good-will dialogue” between the two countries.
‘Bold step forward’
KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the North can take unspecified “additional good-will measures of next stage commensurate with them” if the US takes genuine measures to build trust.
North Korea also said that Trump has agreed on a step-by-step denuclearisation process by North Korea in return for reciprocal concessions from the US.
The two leaders “shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”
The reported agreement, if confirmed by the US, could be considered as a concession by Trump because US officials had called for the North to take swift disarmament measures before getting major outside concessions and benefits.
Some experts say a step-by-step denuclearisation process is a ploy to win concessions while delaying disarmament.
Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay, reporting from Seoul, said that there is not much sign in the declaration from Kim “that he is willing to give up much, if not anything”.
Hay also reported that South Korea is “caught by surprise” at Trump’s decision to halt the military exercises between the two allies. The next military exercise is scheduled for August.
Abroad Air Force One, on his way back to the US, Trump thanked Kim for “taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people,” saying their summit “proves that real change is possible!”
Tweeting from the presidential plane, which just landed in Hawaii to refuel on the trip back from Singapore, Trump wrote, “There is no limit to what NoKo can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce & engagement w/ the world.”
Trump is celebrating the agreement to launch a process to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, though experts and allies are still awaiting details on the broad accord the two sides said they have reached.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies