If you can time-travel and go back to somewhere around September 2017 and tell someone—anyone, just anyone—that President Donald Trump has just shaken Chairman Kim Jong-Un’s hand, and even had lunch with him, the someone from September 2017 might think that the world has ended and we’re now living in the Afterlife.
Well, I won’t blame that “someone”. Back in September 2017, I was even Googling if we, the Singaporean NSmen, would be activated should a war break out (silly, I know).
But yesterday, a miracle happened—one that would definitely be in history textbooks.
Foes-turned-friends Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un met face-to-face, and it’s not just that: they even became closer.
Here are what you need to know, for in the last few days, all you’ve been seeing in your Facebook newsfeed are black cars moving that somehow still got hundreds of thousands of views.
A Brief History of US and North Korea
To understand the gravity of this summit, we’ll have to go all the way back to 1950. Back then, Korea was already separated between North and South Korea after WW2, with the North affiliated with the Soviet Union and the South with the US.
North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950, captured Seoul but the United Nations responded: they then re-captured Seoul and pushed North Korea back to where they were.
To cut long story short, North Korea and South Korea stopped fighting, but a peace treaty was not signed. So technically, they’re still at war.
And now you know why US is so invested in this: it’s a war that US was involved back in 1950 that has technically not been resolved.
A Brief History of What Happened Before the Summit
So, throughout the years, South Korea grew rapidly under capitalism , while North Korea struggled economically.
In 2011, Kim Jong Un took power but it was in 2017 that the hermit country had more missile tests. Fears of them possessing a long-range nuclear missile increased every month.
During this period, there was also a war of words between President Trump and Chairman Kim.
And Finally, Sports Bring Everyone Together
But in a twist, the Winter Olympics served not just to bring countries together to compete, but also brought the North and South Korea leaders closer.
North and South Korea officials met and competed together in the Winter Olympics, but it was Chairman Kim’s sister presence in the Games that kind of sparked everything: she conveyed her brother’s desire for a summit with the South Korea president.
Then, of course, things went well for the world all of a sudden: Chairman Kim extended an invitation to meet President Trump, a top US official met with Kim, North Korea said they had suspended their nuclear and missile tests and of course, this happened.
Whoever says 2018 is going to be a bad year?
Arrival of Kim and Trump
No one can confirm if the meeting is really going to take place unless the two world leaders meet.
Chairman Kim arrived in Singapore at about 3:00 p.m. on 10 June 2018, two days ahead of the summit. He even met up with our prime minister that day, and went to visit MBS and Gardens by the Bays the next day.
President Donald Trump arrived about five hours later and went straight to his hotel. He met up with our prime minister for a working lunch the next day and then spoke to U.S. Embassy personnel stationed in Singapore.
From a Meet-and-Greet to an Almost Full-day of Bro-Bro
Trump has famously said that he would be “prepared to walk away” if the talks didn’t go well. That being said, the summit could be over in one minute, or over in many hours.
Thank God it’s the latter.
After a handshake that would go down to history as one of the most important handshakes, Trump and Kim went off to speak privately.
They came out after about 40 minutes.
While Kim’s glasses were strangely gone (maybe he traded it for a red “Make America Great Again” cap?), Trump told reporters that the talk went “very well”.
I could almost see the whole world smiling.
They had lunch together after that.
Who would have expected, right?
Okay, granted that it’s not like the lunch break you had with your colleague but a working lunch, it’s still something cool. In fact, even the menu is cool: it’s Nasi Lemak Burger.
No lah, I kid you. It’s this:
Take note of the main course and you’ll feel at home. It’s Yangzhou fried rice and sweet & sour crispy pork.
While these dishes don’t exactly represent Singapore in general, it’s still fascinating, considering that we can order them in the zichar stall below an HDB.
More Bro-Bro moments
After the one-on-one private meeting, the two leaders had meetings with their delegates, during which a few interesting things happened.
Trump made a joke
You know a friend is made when you can joke with him. After all, you don’t joke with your boss, do you? Before having their zichar, Trump turned to everyone and said this: “Getting a good picture everybody? So we look nice and handsome and thin?”
Here the epic footage. Take a look at Kim Jong-Un’s reaction; maybe he didn’t know what Trump was talking about but it’s just priceless (start from 1:02).
Showing Kim Jong-Un his car
Ask any girlfriend or wife what would happen if you put two men together, and chances are, the men would talk about NS or cars. The two world leaders chose the latter, as Trump showed Kim his Presidential state car, fondly known as The Beast.
If you’ve watched any US political drama, you’ll know it’s a car that any president would be proud of: costing up to USD$1.5 million, the heavily armoured car is a moving fortress, and to some, a symbol of the president.
Here’s the footage.
What a day, right?
“Everything is good.”
If there’s takeaway from this, it’s this: good.
Listing down the number of times Trump mentioned “good” would be too long, so here’s a concise version: the talk went very well. At least, from what we see. Everything supposedly went better than expected.
Trump described Kim Jong-Un as a leader who is very talented and loves his country very much. Seeing the smiles on both leaders’ face, it’s obvious that they’re now very happy men.
Goal Achieved: Promise of Complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Right from the start, that has been the US’s goal: a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
You see, back in September 2017, after North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test, the United Nations passed a resolution that increased the sanctions aganist North Korea.
If this is too chim to understand, we’ll use an example of Ah How. Ah How is a kid in school, but he did something bad. To punish him and show that everyone isn’t happy with him, everyone around him stop selling things to him.
So Ah How, now, in order to even survive, has to grow his own food in his house. He won’t be able to buy new toys and no one wants to talk to him.
That’s something like sanctions la, though it’s more of trade restrictions.
Trump and Kim signed a deal yesterday, which in general comprises these points:
- They will establish new relationship
- They will corporate to build a lasting and peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
- North Korea will work to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
- They will recover POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
See the point in bold? That’s the key goal.
In addition to that, Trump would stop US-South Korean military exercises in the Korean peninsula.
However, as of now, the sanctions haven’t been lifted yet.
They May Meet Again
When asked if Trump would invite Kim to the White House or if he would go to Pyongyang when invited, Trump agreed to both.
A few days before the summit, it’s alleged that that there might be a possibility of a US embassy in North Korea.
Seeing that they’ve finally established a diplomatic relationship, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in the near future, images of Trump and Kim shaking hands are as common as Burger King coupons.
There’s Even a Video Trailer
What’s a better way to showcase the prospects of peace? A video.
The US did a video and it’s really lit. Trump showed it to Kim (there is an English and Korean version) who apparently seemed to like it.
Well, we love it too. Almost like a trailer for a new National Geographic documentary. Oh, wait, it is a trailer.
A wise man once said that words can’t convey a message well: body language conveys a message better than words.
According to a local body language expert, Trump has been in control, almost like a host. He’s showing dominance and guiding Kim.
Here, take a look.
Having seen so many videos of the Trump-Kim summit, I agree with him.
So, with the summit over and the two leaders back to their countries, what next?
Seriously, it’s not easy to answer that question. Remember we asking “what next” in September 2017?
In any case, it’s really a SGD$20 million well spent.
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