History made as Trump, Kim Jong Un announce plan to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program Featured

President Donald Trump (right) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for cameras after signing an agreement to end the North Korean nuclear weapons program as part of a summit meeting in Singapore. President Donald Trump (right) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for cameras after signing an agreement to end the North Korean nuclear weapons program as part of a summit meeting in Singapore. ABC News screenshot

SINGAPORE -- President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have reached an agreement to end the North Korean nuclear weapons program.



The two sat down face-to-face Monday night as part of a summit in Singapore. Trump says ongoing sanctions by the US will be lifted once American negotiators are satisfied there is progress towards dismantling the North Korean nuclear program, and he denied giving North Korea any concessions despite agreeing to end military exercises near the Korean peninsula.



Emporia State Social Sciences Chair and professor Michael Smith says the success of Monday night's deal likely hinges on two things: enforcement and the leaders themselves.

While much attention has been paid to the nuclear agreement -- and with good reason, considering recent threats from North Korea against the United States as well as South Korea and other Asian neighbors -- the amount of time spent on North Korea's human rights violations is not immediately clear. Kim's regime has an estimated 80,000 to 130,000 political prisoners, according to recent estimates from the International Bar Association, and the IBA's 2017 report cites evidence of crimes against humanity including murder, torture, rape, forced abortions, starvation and overwork. The United Nations found similar human rights violations as part of an inquiry dating back to 2014.

Smith says Trump seems to have an easier time dealing with leaders like Kim as opposed to longstanding allies. He also says Kim likely had one major goal in mind going into Monday night's summit.

Back at home, Smith says there could be a temporary bump in Trump's popularity directly tied to the summit. However, Smith also says the economy will have a greater long-term impact on Trump's popularity than any North Korea deal.

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