President Trump returns to the U.S. on Tuesday after a historic face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two leaders released a joint statement committing to establish new diplomatic relations and "to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." But what does it mean?
“That was sort of a wild moment for me when they shook hands,” he says. “I could not believe what I was watching on TV.”
On his initial reaction to the agreement
“I guess I feel like that guy [where] there's this big dinner party being held by friends on the street, and I show up for the big party. I'm really looking forward to it. I knock on the door. My friend comes and says, you know, 'I've pushed it off until next week.' And on the one hand, I'm happy that we're having the party, but I'm disappointed.
“In some ways, this is to be expected, right? There wasn't three years of preparation for this. They were trying to cobble it together at the last minute, and they weren't able to make progress. I would have liked to have seen some more specific announcements.”
"If we have confidence that the North Koreans don't have nuclear weapons, then I don't see a reason why we would need to keep nuclear weapons in South Korea."Jim Walsh
On the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula being left out of the deal
“It'll come back. Not all of those are achievable, especially the irreversible one, which is sort of a theme for today. So far, everyone's agreed to take some actions, but everyone can turn around and reverse those, right? So they can destroy this or a couple of those things, but they can rebuild them, and then we can halt our military exercises. If things fall apart, we can reverse that, too and start up again, so no real permanent commitments that are set in stone and [irreversible] so far.”
On the idea of denuclearizing the entire Korean Peninsula
“Well, we do have this. North Korea and South Korea did sign this in the 1990s, a denuclearization of the peninsula agreement. It's sort of fallen by the wayside. I personally don't have a problem with making the Korean Peninsula a nuclear-free zone. That if we have confidence that the North Koreans don't have nuclear weapons, then I don't see a reason why we would need to keep nuclear weapons in South Korea, particularly if our ally is not requesting them or insisting on it. So I think of that as a potential positive vision for the future, but obviously there's a long way to go between where we are and where that is.”
"There are risks, and we have sort of seen those risks in the last 24 hours. That if you don't have a lot of preparation, then you're not going to have a lot at the end of the meeting."Jim Walsh
On how an agreement with North Korea could match the Iran nuclear deal
“Well, I think that there are just some physical facts here that are in play. There is no way you're going to get a deal that has as strong verification as the Iran deal. Just ain't going to happen.
“First of all, Iran never produced nuclear weapons. North Korea has. North Korea is a country — I've been there — of mountains. We have no baseline, right? The inspectors haven't been there in forever. At least during the Iran negotiations and all that squabbling, there were inspectors still inspecting the sites. We haven't had anyone in North Korea for ages. We don't, you know, if they stuck a bunch of stuff in a mountain, we don't know. We're not going to be able to find it. And that's OK, right? People insist on 100 percent verification. There's never 100 percent verification. But the truth is because North Korea is harder to verify, the Iran agreement will without doubt have stronger verification provisions than whatever agreement we get with North Korea. That's just the way it is, and you just have to live with it.”
On the likelihood that Trump and basketball player Dennis Rodman could bring peace to the Korean Peninsula
“It is possible. It's unlikely, but it is possible, and I think we should cling to that as a possibility. We should test that proposition until it falls apart. You know, North Korea has lots of reasons why, you know, there are lots of reasons to be skeptical here, but it's a one-person dictatorship. If the one person changes his mind, then everything changes. And … that's the beauty of going top-down, starting at the top and then working down. But then there are risks, and we have sort of seen those risks in the last 24 hours. That if you don't have a lot of preparation, then you're not going to have a lot at the end of the meeting."
This segment aired on June 12, 2018.