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Start of a beautiful friendship?

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13.06.2018

NICHOLAS KHOO

Last updated 12:33, June 13 2018

Sincerity is not enough, says Otago University lecturer Nicholas Khoo of the Singapore summit. Three ambitious conditions need to be met before it can be called a success.

OPINION: How should we assess the agreement signed between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday? The most important sentences in the short document released after the meeting are worth reviewing.

North Korea "commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". In return, "President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK". We can now declare victory in the campaign on North Korean nuclear proliferation. Or can we?

What's the problem? Conspicuously, there is no mention of the word "verifiable" in the agreement signed on Tuesday. Indeed, just a day before, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the "ultimate" aim of the meeting to be the "complete, and verifiable, and irreversible, denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

In a question and answer session at the post-meeting press conference, Trump expressed little concern with the discrepancy between the agreement and Pompeo's statement. When pressed on the verification of denuclearisation issue, Trump stated that Kim "was very firm that he wants to do this". But this is not enough.

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