Trump-Kim summit: Britain, EU, Russia welcome meeting

US President Donald Trump meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Capella Singapore on June 12, 2018.
US President Donald Trump meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Capella Singapore on June 12, 2018.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

LONDON, MOSCOW, BRUSSELS (REUTERS, AFP) - Britain on Tuesday (June 12) welcomed North Korea's commitment to denuclearisation, saying it is a signal that its leader, Mr Kim Jong Un, has finally heeded the message after a meeting with US President Donald Trump, a statement from Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said.

During a historic summit in Singapore earlier in the day, Mr Trump and Mr Kim pledged to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and Washington committed to provide security guarantees.

 

Reading a statement from Mr Johnson, British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters: "We welcome that President Trump and Kim Jong Un have held a constructive summit, this is an important step towards the stability of a region vital to global economic growth."

He added: "There is much work to be done and we hope that Kim continues to negotiate in good faith towards complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation."

The European Union also praised the summit between the two leaders as a "crucial and necessary step", indicating that denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula could be achieved.

"This summit was a crucial and necessary step to build upon the positive developments achieved in inter-Korean relations and on the peninsula so far," the EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ms Mogherini stressed that the aim of the international community remained "the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" - a longstanding formulation that implies Pyongyang allowing inspections and not rebuilding any weapons it gives up.

"The joint statement signed by the US and DPRK leaders today gives a clear signal that this goal can be achieved," Ms Mogherini said, using an abbreviation for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

But Mr Trump and Mr Kim's joint statement omits the words "verifiable and irreversible", leading some observers to question whether it amounted to any new commitments from Pyongyang.

The US leader said there would be further meetings and Ms Mogherini said the EU stood ready to "facilitate and support the follow-on negotiations and other steps".

Tensions between the EU and US are running high over a series of disagreements on major international issues, including Mr Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and his decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry also praised Mr Trump's move on Tuesday to end war games with South Korea, saying it was necessary to stop provocative actions to ease tensions on the peninsula.

Mr Trump had said after the summit that joint military exercises with South Korea would be halted.

 
 
 
 

Russian news agency RIA Novosti said on Tuesday that Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hailed the summit as a "positive" step.

"We have not yet seen the documents (signed at the summit). I don't think they have been published. But the mere fact that this meeting took place is of course positive," the agency quoted Mr Lavrov as saying.

Separately, Iran warned Mr Kim on Tuesday against trusting Mr Trump, saying he could cancel their denuclearisation agreement within hours.

Teheran cited its own experience in offering the advice to Mr Kim a month after Washington withdrew from a similar deal with Iran.

"We don't know what type of person the North Korean leader is negotiating with. It is not clear that he would not cancel the agreement before returning home," Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht was quoted as saying by IRNA new agency.

Mr Nobakht questioned Mr Trump's credibility. "This man does not represent the American people, and they will surely distance themselves from him at the next elections," he said.

As well as pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr Trump disowned last Saturday a joint communique issued by Group of Seven (G-7) leaders, just hours after he had left their summit for the meeting with Mr Kim.

Mr Trump has said would be open to striking a new nuclear accord with Teheran.

However, he says the existing deal negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama had failed to address Iran's ballistic missile programme.

On top of this, he also cited the terms under which international inspectors can visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites and "sunset" clauses, under which limits on the nuclear programme start to expire after 10 years.

Mr Trump has insisted any deal with North Korea should include irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also advised North Korean leaders on Monday to "exercise complete vigilance" in their negotiations with the United States.

"We are not optimistic about these talks... The United States, especially Mr Trump, has undermined international agreements and has unilaterally withdrawn from them," Bahram Qasemi said.

Mr Trump has also decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change accord. Washington will reimpose a wide array of Iran-related sanctions after the expiry of 90- and 180-day wind-down periods, including measures aimed at the oil sector and transactions with its central bank.

Other remaining signatories of the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia- have criticised the US exit and are still trying to salvage the accord.