While praising President Donald Trump for his effort to rein in the nuclear weapons program of North Korea, lawmakers in both parties in the Congress expressed caution on Wednesday about the deal signed by Mr. Trump and Kim Jong Un, worried that it has few specifics on how the Pyongyang regime would be forced to denuclearize.
"While I am glad the President and Kim Jong Un were able to meet, it is difficult to determine what of concrete nature has occurred," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), as Republicans were a bit dubious in their initial reactions about what the Trump-Kim agreement would really achieve.
"I continue to remain skeptical about Kim Jong Un’s commitment to denuclearization," said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH).
"Following this summit I remain skeptical but hopeful that this new dialogue can translate into meaningful progress," said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
"We got hollow promises, the North Koreans got legitimacy on the world stage and a compulsive assurance from President Trump that the U.S. would suspend joint military exercises with South Korea," said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). "Very concerning."
"Maximum pressure is wasted when we settle for minimal results," said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who said Kim Jong Un had been given an agreement "without any concrete promises or plans to achieve verifiable denuclearization."
The major concern was the lack of detail on how North Korea would deal with its nuclear weapons program - here are the four points which were agreed to in the Trump-Kim statement:
But there were lawmakers who - while acknowledging the lack of details - said that it was simply time to try something different.
"The status quo has failed," said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).
"The traditional way hasn't worked for many, many years, so this is a non-traditional approach," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). "I'm very optimistic about it."
"North Korea must know they have no option but to change its ways," said Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX).
"I hope to see continued substantive negotiations with the goal of denuclearization and a path of peace and prosperity moving forward," said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA).
But others said the President had given too much respect to the North Korean leader.
"Kim is a brutal dictator," said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). "The President views him as a “talented man.” What happened to our values?"
While lawmakers were trying to digest what went on, Mr. Trump was flying home from Singapore; the White House said he would return to the White House on Wednesday morning. A first refueling stop occurred in Guam early on Tuesday afternoon, Washington time.
Asked by reporters aboard Air Force One how the U.S. and the world would guarantee that Kim follows through on his pledge to denuclearize, the President expressed confidence.
"We’re going to have to check it and we will check it. We’ll check It very strongly," Mr. Trump said.
"And, do you trust him?" asked a reporter.
"I do," Mr. Trump said.
Here is the full text of the agreement signed by Mr. Trump, as provided by the White House:
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