Trump right to give deal a shot

EDITORIAL

The one-page agreement they signed was vague, the US president gave a lot to make the deal happen, and the whole carefully choreographed event has legitimised one of the world’s worst human rights abusers as a leader on the global stage . . . but even at this early point, with chances of successful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula probably still worse than even, it was worth it.

The apparent rapport struck between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un at their historic summit in Singapore yesterday sets the scene for the difficult process ahead to convince North Korea to really give up the nuclear ambitions that have been so central to the Kim regimes over the past five decades.

The world has been here before — after lengthy and painstaking efforts, and a lot less theatre — only to be deceived by the North. And that was before it had nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them to the US mainland.

Trump said it was a one-shot chance for peace with North Korea and it came off better than most expected.

The surprise commitment by the US to end military drills with South Korea, with so little else agreed to officially — and on the excuse that they are expensive and “very provocative”, as well as the more justifiable inappropriateness of war games “under the circumstances that we’re negotiating” — has unnerved many in this region with a delicate power balance, and a clear and present continuing threat to the South as well as Japan. But it was the key concession, along with Trump’s signal of a long-term plan to remove the 28,500 US troops from South Korea, that will have brought Kim to the table in Singapore.

After seven decades of hostility, and a year of scary rhetoric between nuclear-powered leaders, Trump and his team were right to give this detente a real chance — even if history could well prove them wrong. To maybe reach resolution finally to a war of the 1950s, to remove a grave threat to world peace, and maybe even establish a brighter future for the poor, benighted people of North Korea makes the risk worth taking.

Now for the hard work.

The one-page agreement they signed was vague, the US president gave a lot to make the deal happen, and the whole carefully choreographed event has legitimised one of the world’s worst human rights abusers as a leader on the global stage . . . but even at this early point, with chances of successful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula probably still worse than even, it was worth it.

The apparent rapport struck between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un at their historic summit in Singapore yesterday sets the scene for the difficult process ahead to convince North Korea to really give up the nuclear ambitions that have been so central to the Kim regimes over the past five decades.

The world has been here before — after lengthy and painstaking efforts, and a lot less theatre — only to be deceived by the North. And that was before it had nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them to the US mainland.

Trump said it was a one-shot chance for peace with North Korea and it came off better than most expected.

The surprise commitment by the US to end military drills with South Korea, with so little else agreed to officially — and on the excuse that they are expensive and “very provocative”, as well as the more justifiable inappropriateness of war games “under the circumstances that we’re negotiating” — has unnerved many in this region with a delicate power balance, and a clear and present continuing threat to the South as well as Japan. But it was the key concession, along with Trump’s signal of a long-term plan to remove the 28,500 US troops from South Korea, that will have brought Kim to the table in Singapore.

After seven decades of hostility, and a year of scary rhetoric between nuclear-powered leaders, Trump and his team were right to give this detente a real chance — even if history could well prove them wrong. To maybe reach resolution finally to a war of the 1950s, to remove a grave threat to world peace, and maybe even establish a brighter future for the poor, benighted people of North Korea makes the risk worth taking.

Now for the hard work.

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