Ok, so Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un are friends now, just eight months after publicly threatening to murder each other and just nine months after Trump threatened to wipe North Korea off the map at the U.N. Remember this?…
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 19, 2017
Bygones will be bygones, I guess.
Following a surreal series of handshakes and photo ops and after hours of closed door discussions, one “mentally deranged dotard” and one “short, fat rocket man” signed a document, the text of which reads as follows:
Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un state the following.
- The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
- The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
- Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
- The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
Simon put on the most serious face he could possibly muster when it came time to present the drawings:
The news conference that followed the summit was batshit crazy and that is a truly generous assessment. Asked about Kim’s human rights record, Trump suggested it’s necessary to murder your relatives and starve millions of people when you’re handed the reins of an autocracy at 26. Trump even quantified how rare a breed Kim really is. Specifically, Kim isn’t one in a million, but he is “one out of ten thousand”:
Reporter: Why are you so comfortable calling Kim Jong Un "very talented?"
President Trump: "Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don't say he was nice." https://t.co/0GKdLYDYlc pic.twitter.com/iyreFRsWTJ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 12, 2018
Yes, “tough”. The type of “tough” where you execute officials with anti-aircraft guns for the high crime of falling asleep in your presence.
Trump went on to implore the world to “think of it from a real estate perspective” when you see Kim conducting war games on North Korea’s beaches:
Trump said he brought Kim to the table by showing him what the future could look like should he choose the path of peace: "Instead of [testing missiles] you could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective" https://t.co/XBC0Sh0nRK pic.twitter.com/dlxvxLPcLG
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 12, 2018
Got that? You say “unhinged child shooting cannons into the ocean”, Trump says “wow, wouldn’t that make a great condo!” He is literally going to try and build Trump vacation properties in North Korea.
Trump also talked about “very powerful engine testing sites” before assuring everyone that even if he’s wrong about Kim, he’s unlikely to admit it and will probably just “make up some excuse” if it turns out he got outwitted by Pyongyang:
Trump says he trusts Kim Jong Un. And if he's wrong? "I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, 'Hey I was wrong,'" said Trump, before adding, "I don't know that I'll ever admit that, but I'll find some kind of an excuse." https://t.co/J2k6ehVhW1 pic.twitter.com/onKaUHP2f3
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 12, 2018
And here he is reiterating a point he made back in November (after he insulted a grieving widow) about having “one of the great memories of all time“:
President Trump, on returning to notes from his conversations with North Korean leader Kim: "I don't have to verify because I have one of the great memories of all time" https://t.co/0omV9J2jKX pic.twitter.com/pi8cxNNiaF
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 12, 2018
Oh, and don’t forget about Kim coming to the White House; apparently that’s going to happen:
President Trump says Kim Jong Un has accepted his invitation to the White House. pic.twitter.com/GZHSOPXK0y
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 12, 2018
The war games with South Korea are being called off. Here’s Trump pulling an Allen Iverson (“Practice? We’re talking about practice.“):
EXCLUSIVE: President Trump tells @GStephanopoulos "I wanted to stop the war games, I thought they were very provocative, but I also think they're very expensive," when asked if he discussed pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea with Kim Jong Un. https://t.co/ANdmOzpPd9 pic.twitter.com/k015aM4PH9
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2018
Yes, that’s all “very expensive” – much like military parades.
And the absurd soundbites just go on, and on, and on, as I’m sure you can imagine.
S&P isn’t particularly enamored with this. Over the long run, S&P thinks the thawing of relations between Washington and Pyongyang may benefit sovereign creditworthiness in northeast Asia, but it will take at least three years for anyone to see policy shifts meaningful enough to translate into materially lower regional sovereign credit risks.
“Singapore summit does not immediately change the incentives facing the North Korean leadership,” S&P asserts, adding that although “North Korea’s autarkic economy and the existing sanctions on the country limit the impact of external volatility, a sustained reduction in geopolitical risks will take time to materialize.”
One person who is impressed is Mark Mobius who called the summit the “single most significant economic event” when it comes to “transforming Asia and providing immense opportunities for citizens and investors”.
“We have been eagerly anticipating peace on the Korean peninsula for years, a topic that Trump and Kim addressed in the joint statement,” he said in an e-mail to Bloomberg, before comparing the summit to German reunification and the fall of the iron curtain.
I don’t know. It kind of seems like we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
But not in the mind of Donald Trump, who now says he has “a very special bond” with Kim (call it “dragon energy“, I guess).
The summit, Trump says, went “better than anybody could have expected.”