A handshake that could change the world

Strange but true: Kim said that the meeting might seem like “science fiction” to many.

Is the world about to change? For the first time ever, a sitting US president has met a North Korean leader. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un both declared the meeting a success. Not everyone agrees.

What’s happening

On Tuesday, against all odds, President Donald Trump met Kim Jong-un at a hotel in Singapore. They shook hands, and then spoke for five hours. Kim promised “to work toward complete denuclearisation”. In return, Trump committed to “security guarantees” for North Korea. “The world will see major changes,” said Kim.

Find out more

Kim and Trump met to talk about one thing: denuclearisation. The trouble is that this word means different things to them.

The US wants North Korea to get rid of its weapons and destroy its nuclear facilities at once. It says that inspectors should visit the country to make sure this happens.

North Korea would like things to move more slowly. It also expects the US to stop threatening war, and to pull its troops out of East Asia.

The agreement signed on Tuesday is vague, and does not force Kim to do as the US wants. To sweeten the deal, Trump promised to stop joint military drills with South Korea, the North’s enemy. He praised Kim, calling him “very talented”.

In the meantime, the two countries continue to talk. Is peace finally coming?

Some say…

If only. The truth is that North Korea has promised all these things many times before. Each time, the deal fell apart when the two sides disagreed on exactly what it meant. The same will happen again. Meanwhile, Kim basked in the glory of meeting the world’s most powerful man, and received more promises than he gave. This is one big win for him.

Others think…

Think positive. Tuesday’s agreement may not mean much in itself, but the fact that the two leaders have met is a big deal. It creates a strong, personal bond, through which the countries can work towards real peace. If you think back to last year, when Trump and Kim were calling each other names and threatening nuclear war, things are looking up!

You Decide

  1. Is it wrong for national leaders to lie to each other?

Activities

  1. Imagine you were a journalist at the meeting. You could ask one question to Trump, and another to Kim. What would they be?

Some People Say...

“My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose.”

President Donald Trump

What do you think?

Word Watch

Singapore
A small country in Southeast Asia.
Facilities
Buildings and equipment needed for doing something.
Inspectors
Nuclear experts from outside North Korea, who would make sure that the country is obeying international rules.
Joint military drills
Every year, the US and its ally South Korea team up to practice military actions. The official reason is to prepare for “defence”.

Subjects

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