Following diplomatic meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity that he believes the North Korean regime will begin working toward denuclearization "virtually immediately."
What are the details?
According to transcripts provided to TheBlaze, Trump told Hannity in an interview set to air Tuesday night, the diplomatic denuclearization process is "really moving rapidly" and explained the Kim regime is doing "so much."
I just think that we are now we are going to start the process of denuclearization of North Korea, and I believe that he’s going back and will start it virtually immediately, and he’s already indicated that and you look at what he’s done.
So we got our hostages back, but they’ve blown up one of their sites, one of their testing sites, their primary testing site, in fact some people say their only testing site, they are getting rid of a missile, which isn’t in the document, that was done afterwards, they’re getting rid of a missile testing site — they’re doing so much now.
At the end of the historic summit, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement to put in writing the commitment to a denuclearized and peaceful 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," the statement said.
Trump explained during a post-summit news conference that inspectors will be sent into North Korea to verify the country is moving forward with denuclearization. However, Trump said North Korea sanctions would remain in place — for now.
Hasn't this happened before?
Yes. The Kim dynasty, under Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, signed a treaty with the U.S. in 1994, known as the Agreed Framework. The agreement sought an end to North Korea's fledgling nuclear program with a goal of complete denuclearization, just as in Trump's deal.
However, relations with North Korea, which had seemed to go well, broke down under former President George W. Bush after the U.S. accused North Korea of having an enriched uranium program, a major step in the nuclear weapon building process.
After the CIA informed Congress North Korea had built a centrifuge facility, another major step in the nuclear process, Pyongyang formally withdrew from the non-proliferation agreement in January 2003. The country announced in 2005 it had manufactured nuclear weapons.
Did Trump end military exercises with South Korea?
Yes. During his news conference, Trump said joint military exercises with the South Korean military — typically a show of strength toward Pyongyang — would end immediately, a decision that took Seoul by complete surprise. Trump attributed the move as a cost-saving measure.
"At this moment, we need to figure out President Trump's accurate meaning and intention," a South Korean spokesperson said, according to CNN.
Admittedly, Trump said Kim was very pleased with the development. One of North Korea's stated goals is to establish peace with the U.S. and ultimately see the removal of more than 30,000 U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula.
Trump said the so-called "military games" would restart if the Kim regime begins acting in bad faith.
During the news conference, Trump said the summit would not have happened were it not for Otto Warmbier, the college student who was arrested in North Korea and practically murdered by the regime.
"Otto Warmbier is a very special person and he will be for a very long time in my life. His parents are good friends of mine. I think without Otto, this would not have happened," Trump said.
According to the joint statement, both sides also agreed to recover and return remains of soldiers who were killed or missing in action during the Korean War so they can be repatriated.
However, no peace treaty was signed and the two nations are technically still enemy combatants.