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June 12 2018 was a historic milestone for the international community and  for Singapore. On that day, the leaders of the United States and North Korea, President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim jong un met on the tourist island of Sentosa.

Many expected that, given the numerous issues that were waiting to be resolved, the Summit would not take place. But it did and the world is a safer place for that.The personal chemistry between the two leaders which was all too evident, laid the groundwork for several issues to be addressed, if not resolved.

First, the threat of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula was averted, with North Korea agreeing to move towards denuclearisation. Such a nuclear conflict would have had ramifications beyond the region. This move by North Korea met with a response from President Trump ‘s unilateral declaration that the annual War Games that the US held with South Korea would be suspended. North Korea had always viewed these Games as a “severe provocation”.

Secondly, the possibility of a formal end to the Second World War came into view. If this were to occur, a United Korea would be an engine of growth for Asia and the world.

Thirdly, with sanctions and embargoes eventually lifted, North Korea would find itself assuming it’s place in the  international community.

Chairman Kim is already being wooed by the leaders of China, Japan and Russia. However, all the above outcomes from the Summit would only be  realised if the Agreement reached at the Singapore Summit, is implemented in good faith and Commitment.

Many doubts remain, particularly on the issue of denuclearization. This is the lynchpin, on which every thing else depends.

However, if too much pressure is put on the North Koreans to move swiftly towards “complete and irrversible” denuclearization, the likelihood of them walking away is a distinct possibility.  By the same token, lack on this vital issue, would lead to President Trump being charged that he gave away too much too soon.

Nevertheless, President Trump and Chairman Kim must be lauded for having taken the “first step in a thousand miles journey.

For Singapore, the Summit being held in in this island state, is a vindication of a cardinal plank of it’s foreign policy friendship with all and enmity towards none. After several other capitals were considered, Singapore was the ‘chosen one’.

The opportunity was well taken by the people to show Chairman Kim and others the fruits of the journey from a Third World to a First World state.

Mr K.Kesavapany,

Adjunct Professor
Lee Kuan Yew School
of Public Policy.
National University of

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