Mogambo ... khush hua (Mogambo ... is happy). That memorable one-liner from the 1987 blockbuster Mr India sums up the takeaway from the historic summit US President Donald Trump had with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday.
Both megalomaniacs Trump and Kim qualify for being Mogambo - the don essayed brilliantly by Amrish Puri on screen - as the mercurial US President had just come out of a G-7 summit he nuked with his diatribe and the North Korea has the world’s worst human rights record.Mogambo’s happiness mattered, as the converse was sure death like it happens in North Korean concentration camps.
Trump had bragged he would size up Kim within just a minute of their interaction, so their mutual body language was important. When both radiated warmth as they began the summit and beamed after it, there was a collective sigh of relief. For, what was on the table was total and verifiable denuclearisation of the North, a goal that ought not to have been frittered away because of Trump’s whim - like he tore up the nuclear deal his predecessor Barack Obama struck with Iran.
In the end, Kim promised to work towards denuclearisation in return for security guarantees from Trump. And the President announced a surprise confidence building measure (CMB): halting US military exercises in South Korea. It was widely seen as a major giveaway as Pyongyang has always seen it as an invasion rehearsal.
Trump, however, said sanctions on the North for its nuclear tests will remain as of now. “We signed a joint statement that is an unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation,” he said after their four-hour meeting.
“Kim told me that North Korea has already destroyed a major missile engine testing site,” he added. In response to a question about denuclearisation, Trump said, “We’re starting that process... very quickly.” A meeting next week will go over the details of denuclearisation, he informed.
What’s in it for North Korea
Kim Jong-un managed to wangle out a major concession from the US to halt war games with the South. He also got the optics he wanted to join the high table, as the North is seen as a rogue state
Key takeaways for the US
Kim agreed to total denuclearisation without the US lifting economic sanctions. Trump also brought up the North’s human rights record. Most important, Trump saw in Kim a person he could possibly do business with