Trump and Kim: what to make of the deal?

The meeting between Kim and Trump continues to be the subject of close scrutiny. While the Chinese press is full of praise, commentators in other countries ask what Iran can learn from the summit, and why Trump of all people has clinched the deal with Kim Jong-un.

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Global Times (CN) /

Leaving behind the shadow of the Cold War

In particular the US president's pledge to stop joint military manoeuvres with South Korea is a welcome step in the view of the Chinese pro-Communist Party newspaper Global Times:

“With a cooling down of military activities, less US military participation, and possibly an eventual US troop withdrawal, the peninsula will completely walk out of the shadow of the Cold War. If political process moves toward this direction on the peninsula, the whole region will benefit. ... Trump and Kim have an opportunity to create history. If Trump can realize complete denuclearization of the peninsula, and Kim can bring prosperity to North Korea, it will be great feat for both of them.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Iran can learn from Kim

After this summit Iran should take a leaf out of North Korea's book when it comes to negotiating skills, Milliyet urges:

“What strings did North Korea pull to get Trump to act like a respectable statesman, sit down at the table and negotiate in a decent manner? The Mullah regime in Iran must stop insulting the US and its negotiating partner Kim, and instead reveal this secret. This is necessary because a) Iran itself is in far too critical a situation to be able to prompt the US to accept a new nuclear deal, and b) because not only does it lack protectors of the kind North Korea has with Russia and China, it is also confronting a purportedly united 'Sunni front' that wants nothing better than to crush it.”

The Independent (GB) /

Obama wouldn't have got away with this

Again and again it's the hardliners who are racking up diplomatic victories, The Independent comments:

“If Barack Obama had made the concessions Trump has so far offered, the Republican right would have been calling for his impeachment, but as yet Trump's actions have produced barely a peep of protest. As with Richard Nixon and the normalisation of diplomatic relations with China, Trump's position as a perceived hardliner and his influence over the Republican voting base may make it possible for him to cut a deal with North Korea that would not otherwise be possible.”

Die Presse (AT) /

President deserves acknowledgement

The US president can chalk up the détente on the Korean Peninsula as a success, writes Die Presse:

“With his extravagant deal-maker diplomacy Trump kicked open a door that others hadn't even knocked on. Only a stubborn brute like him could manage this. Now everything depends on how focussed his administration is in advancing the negotiations and turning them into concrete action. But where conventional methods failed, Trump has at least created the chance for a breakthrough. So he can already book the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula as a success (with the help of the South Korean president and gentle pressure from China). And for that he deserves acknowledgement.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

That's a bad deal, Mister Trump!

The North Korean leader has outwitted the US president, The Irish Times believes:

“Pyongyang made similar pledges in 1993 and 2005, but those accords also included an inspection regime and a verification process, respectively. In other words, Trump has achieved less than Bill Clinton and George W Bush did while giving away far more. Of course, it's better that Trump and Kim are exchanging pleasantries than threats. Perhaps the Singapore summit can be the beginning of a meaningful process. But it was a bad start. For all his bombast and bluster, Trump appears to have been snookered by a cannier and more strategic opponent.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Despot rewarded, friends weakened

Commenting in NRC Handelsblad Asia expert Garrie van Pinxteren is also sceptical about the results of the summit:

“Kim has cleverly exploited Trump's need to go down in history as a peacemaker. Without having to give anything up, Kim has attained the status of an internationally respected statesman. ... What comes next is unclear, a timetable hasn't even been set. However, the world has changed as a result of the summit: Trump has strengthened the position of autocratic states like North Korea, China and Russia and weakened his main allies, South Korea and Japan.” (PL) /

Don't forget the North Koreans' suffering

Human rights violations in North Korea must not be forgotten, warns:

“We Poles, who are familiar with every type of criminal misdeed from the past century, cannot forget the suffering people in North Korea. We can't do much to help them, but they at least deserve our prayers and our words. A world that can so easily forget the terrible fate of 25 million North Koreans - who have been robbed of their civil rights, humiliated and murdered, cannot be said to be safe.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Capitalism to change North Koreans' mind

Trump's strategy is to let capitalism exert its appeal on North Korea, Jutarnji List comments:

“Washington had hoped until now that the impoverishment of North Korea, intentionally brought about by Western sanctions and the increased arms spending they necessitate, would lead to a popular uprising. The new strategy is to allow the North Koreans to use their potential for prosperity and quickly put communism behind them, as the Chinese have done. Indeed, such a strategy has every chance of leading to reunification. ... If the country of Samsung, Daewoo and Hyundai really wants peace, the South Koreans will certainly benefit when they can invest in North Korea and buy out Kim's won with their own.”

Zoom (HU) /

Handshake of giants

The historic handshake the whole world was waiting for has now finally happened, Zoom jokes:

“The first handshake between an incumbent US president and a North Korean leader has taken place and it lasted for a whole 12 seconds. Its significance can only be compared with the handshake in the film Predator, when Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Carl Weathers. Compared to his other legendary handshakes this time Trump was more restrained, however. He didn't pull Kim Jong-un towards him and he didn't turn the meeting into a contest over who has the biggest penis either.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

The accidental product of a crazy approach

The historic handshake between Trump and Kim is by no means a sign of a clever policy on Trump's part, according to the taz:

“At its best diplomacy is driven by far-sightedness. He who takes action must not simply rely on gut feeling or self-confidence. He must know exactly which interests are motivating his counterpart, how he can serve these interests and what the consequences of his own actions could be. He who disregards these rules may get lucky every now and then. But that doesn't mean that he is in any way a model for a new kind of diplomacy.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Kim's astonishing transformation

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un caused a sensation by going on a sightseeing tour in Singapore just hours before his meeting with Donald Trump. De Volkskrant's correspondents Michael Persson (US) and Jeroen Visser (South Korea) exclaim over the transformation in his image:

“It's astonishing how much Kim's image has changed in such a short period of time. Goodbye irrational, aggressive dictator with nuclear ambitions, hello cuddly statesman who wants nothing more than he wants peace and friendship. Forgotten are the nuclear tests, the threats with a devastating nuclear war and the murder of his half-brother at Kuala Lumpur International Airport with a banned nerve agent.”