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Opinion digest: Siim Kallas on Kim-Trump summit

Reform Party politician Siim Kallas, who among other positions has served as Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs (1995-1996), reflected on the historic summit to take place between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on Tuesday.

The meeting between Trump and Kim was a very big event, and Kallas noted that it was evident in the coverage provided by CNN commentators that they were not fans of Trump.

"But if this is the beginning of the process that will get North Korea off the list of spawns of Satan, that will eliminate the threat of nuclear war from North Korea, then President Trump has achieved something that his predecessors have not gotten anywhere near achieving," he said.

Kallas likewise expressed annoyance that the commentator on CNN focused on all of the details absent from the agreement signed by the two leaders, stressing that the first step is to sign a political agreement, which is then followed by details that may take months to hammer out precisely. "Of course the devil is in the details, but considering the huge step to which Trump and Kim tied themselves, there is reason to believe that the details will also be agreed upon," he added.

The former foreign minister and prime minister (2002-2003) believed that Tuesday's deal between Trump and Kim will shake up the global balance of power. He pondered whether Trump honestly believed that the U.S. may at some point bomb Iran, against whom the U.S. president has taken an uncompromisingly hostile and opposing attitude, if the latter country should continue developing nuclear weapons.

He also considered whether Trump may now be given a mandate from his voters to make up with Russia  — "'to put an end to provocative war games in Europe and near Russia's borders?'"

North Korea's potential opening up or even reunification with South Korea will create a new economic power in the region that will begin competing with Japan and China, which will introduce a new nuance to the recently erupted trade war between the U.S. and its allies.

What may be considered the most important aspect of the U.S.-North Korea deal, however, is the acceptance of the latter's political system, without putting pressure on introducing democracy or human rights.

It's still possible, he admitted, that the details will kill off the deal and everything will go on as before, but he found that this would be too great a risk to the two leaders' respective reputations.

"Time will tell," he concluded. "One source of military tensions is down, at least for the time being."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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