SINGAPORE – United States President Donald Trump said in Singapore on Tuesday that economic sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until the regime carried out its commitment to denuclearize.
“The sanctions will come off when we are sure the nukes are no longer a factor,” Trump said in a press conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, where Pyongyang had reaffirmed its commitment to denuclearization.
Trump described North Korea’s nuclear arsenal as “very substantial” and acknowledged that the complete denuclearization of the regime would take a “long time,” while adding that he would push for North Korea to do it “as fast it can mechanically and physically be done.”
Following the summit, the two leaders had signed a broad agreement, which did not set a deadline for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula nor did it mention that it has to be “complete, verifiable and irreversible” as the White House had demanded before the summit.
The US president had explained that there had been no time to go into those details.
“I’m here for one day. The process is now going to take place,” he said.
Trump also denied that he had made too many concessions to Kim in exchange for a vague commitment to denuclearize.
“I gave up nothing. I’m here. I haven’t slept in 25 hours,” he added.
Trump also said that Kim had told him that North Korea was already destroying a major missile engine testing site, referring to the dismantling of the Punggye-ri site earlier in the month.
During the press conference, Trump also said he was willing to visit Pyongyang “at the appropriate time” and that he would also be inviting Kim to the White House.
North Korea is one of the countries, which has a maximum number of sanctions (unilateral and multilateral) against it over its repeated nuclear and missile tests.
The summit in Singapore was the first between the leaders of North Korea and the US after nearly 70 years of confrontation, and 25 years of failed negotiations and tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.