Northern Michigan responds to Singapore Summit results
GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- The historic meeting of President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un was held Tuesday in Singapore.
After the summit, President Trump announced there will be an end to annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States.
7&4's Corbin Bagford was able to sit down with a former U.S. diplomat and a museum director who's recently been on the Korean Peninsula.
Major General Brian Bishop said that depending on age, South Koreans may view peace with their northern neighbors differently.
President Trump left his Singapore Summit with Kim Jong Un with an informal deal: work towards denuclearization of North Korea in exchange the end of yearly joint military drills the United States and South Korea have been performing since the mid-70's, and maybe a future removal of U.S. troops from Korea.
Bishop was Deputy Chief of Staff for the UN Command and U.S. forces Korea prior to retiring to Traverse City.
He thinks ceasing the military exercises in South Korea leaves troops vulnerable.
"Think of a football team that is preparing for the Super Bowl. You essentially just said, 'OK, we're not gonna do practice anymore, we're not gonna do preseason and we're just gonna jump straight into the Super Bowl," said Bishop. "And now we have no way of verifying that our staffs are able to do the things they need to do to prepare for a potential conflict."
Gene Jenneman of the Dennos Museum has been to South Korea recently working with artists and museum directors.
In his experience, not all South Koreans view the North in the same light.
"Younger people that you talk to didn't have the connection to North Korea," said Jenneman. "They didn't look at North Korea in the same way that the older generation did where there might have been still family connections and so on. For younger people, that was pretty much a separate country and there wasn't that connection."
Retired U.S. Diplomat Jack Segal agrees that the denuclearization of North Korea would benefit the whole world.
He said the removal of American troops from South Korea is consistent with President Trump's desires to reduce U.S. military presence in foreign countries and doesn't mean the United States is abandoning an ally.
"South Korea is rich enough to defend itself, pay for its own defense," said Segal. "That doesn't mean we're not gonna be allies, it simply means that they have to invest more of their substantial wealth, they're the 7th largest economy in the world, they have to invest more now in protecting their own country, and I think they're ready to do that."
Segal and Bishop remain skeptical of the agreement, both stating that North Korea has a well-documented history of going back on its word.
The U.S. and North Korea have tentatively agreed to continue their discussions in the near future, possibly including a Kim Jong Un visit to the White House.