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Dud deal has left US in despot of bother, say critics

Face-to-face: Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump shake hands on Sentosa Island in Singapore PIC: AP

AFTER the handshakes and the hype, Donald Trump was accused of striking a deal that left Kim Jong-un ‘emboldened and the US with nothing’.

The US president insisted his joint declaration with the North Korean leader was ‘a terrific document’ that will ‘take care of a very big and very dangerous problem for the world’.

But critics said the commitment to ‘work toward’ complete denuclearisation falls short of earlier White House demands.

Push for peace: Kim Jong-un places his hand on Mr Trump’s back PICTURE: STRAIT TIMES/AP

Prof Robert Kelly, of South Korea’s Pusan National University, dismissed the deal as ‘pathetic hype’. ‘God this is depressing,’ he tweeted, ‘All that hype for this? All that drama and Nobel talk?’ He said Mr Trump had secured nothing in return for abandoning military exercises with the South, offering to withdraw US soldiers, dangling the prospect of a peace treaty and alienating allies.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s office said: ‘We need to find out the precise meaning or intentions of president Trump’s remarks.’

‘Terrific document’: The leaders’ signatures can be seen on the agreement PICTURE: GETTY

The deal is the first personally agreed between a US president and North Korean head of state, but the countries have previously signed more detailed agreements which have failed. Security expert Colin Kahl, of Stanford University, said: ‘Trump has now given up maximum pressure for one page of empty promises.’

Mr Trump told reporters: ‘I may stand before you in six months and say, “Hey, I was wrong”. I don’t know I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.’