North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with US president Donald Trump. Picture: AFP
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with US president Donald Trump. Picture: AFP

You’ve got to hand it to US president Donald Trump. On Tuesday he met with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and a few hours later signed a "comprehensive" document that is said to be the start of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

At the signing ceremony, which took place after the meeting at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa island, Trump appeared almost statesmanlike.

"So we’re signing a very important document, a pretty comprehensive document," he said, taking a seat next to Kim.

The North Korean leader responded: "Today, we had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind and we are about to sign a historic document. The world will see a major change."

The document they signed had four points: a deal to establish "new US-[North Korea] relations"; a joint effort to "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula"; a commitment to "work towards" denuclearisation of the peninsula; and the repatriation of the remains of those who died in the Korean War.

The two leaders lunched on a menu that had apparently been designed to boost the talks. Bloomberg reported it thus: "Western favourites including beef short ribs and prawn cocktail were served up alongside Korean stuffed cucumber and soy-braised cod fish with radish. And perhaps in a nod to the part China has played in getting the two sides around the table, the menu included Yangzhou fried rice with homemade XO chilli sauce."

For dessert there was dark-chocolate tartlet ganache and Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream with cherry coulis.

It didn’t take long after the ink had dried for some to conclude the world may have had a few strands of wool pulled over its eyes.

Said Kiyoshi Ishigane, a Tokyo-based asset manager: "There aren’t any details. They’re saying they’ll try. But we don’t know if this will actually materialise."

Asian markets barely reacted and the South Korean Kospi closed almost unchanged from the previous session.

One agency, Jefferies, went so far as to downgrade South Korea to "modestly bullish" from "bullish", citing the slowing economy, narrowing profits and the tightening of monetary policy.

It was Trump himself who had the final word. On Twitter he wrote: "The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the US, say the haters & losers. We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle [sic] launches have stoped [sic], and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!"