US-N.Korea joint statement a crucial first move: PM Lee

Prime Minister congratulates US President, N. Korean leader on summit success

The joint statement signed by United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday is a dramatic move forward and a crucial first step towards permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In letters to both leaders, congratulating them on the "successful conclusion of a historic summit", Mr Lee said of the declaration inked: "It is a crucial first move in the long journey towards lasting peace and stability on a denuclearised Korean Peninsula."

Mr Lee said Singapore is honoured to have hosted the summit.

"We join the international community in celebrating this outcome, and in wishing both the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and the US success in implementing this agreement," he wrote.

The Prime Minister said he looked forward to welcoming Mr Trump again in November for his state visit, which will be in conjunction with the 6th Asean-US Summit and 13th East Asia Summit.

In his letter to Mr Kim, he said he hoped the North Korean leader had enjoyed his stay in Singapore, including his walk at Marina Bay on Monday evening, and that he looked forward to meeting him again in the near future.

Mr Lee also thanked all public officers and national servicemen who worked on the summit. "You did an outstanding job," he wrote in a Facebook post. "Thanks also to Singaporeans for showing the world what we can do."

In separate posts yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also thanked public servants for the part they played.

We join the international community in celebrating this outcome, and in wishing... success in implementing this agreement PM Lee Hsien Loong on the joint statement signed by Mr Donald Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un

In an interview with CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour that aired yesterday, Mr Lee called Mr Kim, 34, "a confident, young leader".

Mr Lee also held a working lunch with Mr Trump. He said: "He speaks his mind, he has his take - he has his very firmly held views on trade, on the way America is being taken advantage of, and the way he wants to make America great again."

On whether the US is indeed being taken advantage of, Mr Lee gave his perspective on the evolving dynamics that have given rise to such sentiment.

In the past, the US had been generous in helping other countries so that it could benefit from a stable and prosperous world, he noted.

But today, it has a much smaller share of the world economy. "So some Americans are asking themselves: Do I still have to carry this burden for the world? Why can't I just calculate for myself?"

These are legitimate questions, he said.

I think (Mr Kim) wants to do things. You would be surprised. Very smart. Very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing. Mr Donald Trump on North Korean leader Mr Kim Jong Un

"But to abandon the whole system, and say... I want to win every single match but I really do not have the overall view of the global game... That is a very different kind of world which America will find themselves in, if it goes that way, over several terms of the presidency."