President Trump’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un follows another historic meeting only weeks earlier between Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, where the two leaders agreed to work to formally end the Korean War. After Tuesday’s summit in Singapore, Trump called the Korean War “an extremely bloody conflict” and expressed hope that the war would soon formally end. For more, we speak with University of Chicago historian Bruce Cumings, author of several books on Korea, including Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History and North Korea: Another Country.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We are now joined by Bruce Cumings, professor of history at University of Chicago, author of a number of books on Korea, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History, North Korea: Another Country.
So, you have been following Korea for decades. Talk about the statement that was signed today, what you were most surprised by. And is this actually continuation of the past or the first real break with the past, Professor Cumings?
BRUCE CUMINGS: Well, I think the first principle about a new relationship between North Korea and the US is very important. It’s a recognition of the DPRK. The US, 72 years ago, refused to recognize Kim Il-sung’s rise to power in February 1946. That was his effective rise to central power. The US denounced it as a Soviet ploy. And ever since, the US has refused to recognize North Korea. North Korea has an ideology that is pinned on projecting its own dignity and wanting respect from other countries. So I think that the first principle of that statement is a very important one, if it’s implemented.
Second, you know, Donald Trump has this kind of innocence. He looks at the Korean problem with innocent eyes. He says that it’s ridiculous that there hasn’t been a peace treaty signed, you know, shortly after the war ended in 1953 or…