Following four hours of talks behind closed doors with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced during a press conference that America will halt its "provocative" joint war games with South Korea in return for the North's commitment to starting the denuclearization process "right away."
"I believe this is a big prelude to peace," Kim told reporters on Tuesday. "There will also be big challenges ahead but I'm willing to do this."
Watch Trump's announcement:
#TrumpKimSummit: Donald Trump says US will be stopping "very provocative" war games with South Korea
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 12, 2018
Beatrice Finn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, added:
I'm not a fan of Trump but let's not promote the idea that stopping to practice mass murdering millions of civilians with weapons of mass destruction is weak and bad. https://t.co/7qkbeQz7IQ
— Beatrice Fihn (@BeaFihn) June 12, 2018
Trump's decision to suspend military exercises on the Korean Peninsula—which have long been perceived by the North as a simulation of all-out war—was applauded by independent analysts as a crucial step toward lasting peace in the region.
Tim Shorrock, a Korea expert who is in Singapore for the historic summit, called the end of U.S.-South Korea war games a "huge deal."
Interesting press conference - one hour! Trump seemed very enthused about his summit with Kim. HUGE deal that the US is ending the joint US-South Korean military exercises. He even called them "provocative." Probably what Pompeo meant yesterday by "unique' security guarantees.
— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) June 12, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose "masterful diplomacy" laid the groundwork for peace talks even as Trump and his advisers continued to hurl threats and insults, applauded signs of significant progress in U.S.-North Korea relations in a statement on Tuesday.
"I join all the people in ardently aspiring for the success of the summit to bring complete denuclearization and peace to us and usher in a new era among the two Koreas and the United States," Moon said.
Talks are better than threats of nuclear war. The #TrumpKimSummit has reduced recent tensions in the region and the agreement for follow on negotiations are the key to any long lasting peace in the region. pic.twitter.com/LIOusYGz0O
— Paul Kawika Martin (@PaulKawika) June 12, 2018
As Tuesday's summit in Singapore came to a close, Trump and Kim signed and released a joint statement affirming their commitment to "the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."
While acknowledging that the document is vague and "thin," Christine Ahn, founder of the peace group Women Cross DMZ, applauded the joint statement as "bold in reorienting relations between historic adversaries."
"The compass has been set, it's time to ensure that these principles are followed through with concrete action, and this is where it is crucial for civil society, especially women's groups, step in," Ahn concluded.