President Trump returned to Washington on Wednesday following the high-profile nuclear summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.  The summit meeting was the first of its kind between a sitting American president and a leader of North Korea.  The summit ended in a joint statement that pointed to opening the door to ending seven decades of hostility between the two countries.

President Trump declared America’s “biggest and most dangerous problem” all but resolved.  The deal he struck with Kim, he said meant there was “no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea” and “everybody can now feel much safer.”

Trump’s team at the summit included, among others, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John F. Kelly, the White House chief of Staff; John Bolton, the national security adviser; and Matthew Pottinger, the National Security Council’s top Asia aid.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration expected “major disarmament” by North Korea before the end of Trump’s term in January 2021. Detailed talks, which Pompeo will lead, will start “some time in the next week or so,” Pompeo said, and will be completed “most definitely,” within the next two years.  He said he had already assembled a strong negotiating team.

In Singapore earlier this week, President Trump and Kim Jong Un first met privately for less than an hour in a one-on-one session with interpreters present.  Then, they held a larger meeting and a working lunch with aides.

In their joint statement, the United States “committed to provide security guarantees” in exchange, Mr. Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Kim said, as well as ending “extreme hostile relations.”

“We had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind,” Mr. Kim said as he and the president signed the joint statement, adding, “the world will see a major change.”  However, the statement was short on details and did not lay out potential next steps or a timetable.

A year ago, President Trump previously railed against the  “brutality” of a North Korean government that lacked “basic human decency.”  However, at this week’s meeting, the President said the two of them would have a “terrific relationship,” despite North Korea’s human rights record.

President Trump’s turnabout on Kim’s regime human rights records, which dismayed lawmakers, human rights activist and others who, while supportive of diplomacy, fear that the president went overboard in his flattery of Kim to the point of normalizing his rule.

Upon his return to D.C., President Trump said that he was suspending joint military exercises with South Korea, which stunned many South Koreans.  The annual exercises have been an integral part of the alliance with the United States that forms the bulwark of South Korea’s defenses against the North.

The joint statement also said the two nations would join their efforts to build a lasting and “stable peace regime” on the divided Korean Peninsula, meaning talks to reduce military tensions that could eventually lead to a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War.

For Americans who were not able to bury loved ones killed in the Korea War, the summit meeting offered new hope.  The joint statement signed by both leaders said their two countries were committed to recovering and repatriating the remains of solders who have been designated captured or missing at the end of the conflict in 1953.

Of the 82,000 American service members still missing from the wars of the past century, 7,702 are from the Korean War, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which is responsible for recovering missing personnel from around the world.  An estimated 120,000 south Korean troops and police officers are also unaccounted for in the Korean War.