U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held their much anticipated summit Tuesday in Singapore. It was a historic meeting, if by “historic” we mean that it was the first meeting of a sitting president of the United States and a North Korean leader. Apart from that very particular definition, it was exceptionally ordinary, yielding a document that offered nothing new. By every measure the encounter was notable more for what it did not do, rather than what it did.
Weeks of advance negotiations, and six hours of talks, interrupted by meals, photo ops and walks, produced a short agreement in which the two leaders promised to establish new U.S.-North Korea relations and “a lasting and robust peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula. They reaffirmed the Panmunjom Declaration signed in April by Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in which North Korea committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Trump and Kim also committed to recovering POW/MIA remains. The document notes that Trump agreed to provide unspecified security guarantees to North Korea and Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”