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North Korean experts say there is still much to do post-summit

Mike Pompeo on China relations, historic summit

Many North Korean experts seem to agree that while the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore this week was a step in the right direction as far as diplomatic engagement goes, there are several elements lacking from the initial agreement struck by President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

In the first international episode of "The Takeout," CBS News' Major Garrett was in Singapore to break down the summit with Duyeon Kim, a visiting senior research fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum based in Seoul, and Robert Carlin, who served in the CIA and worked as a State Department North Korea negotiator.

"The summit outcomes were not perfect," Kim said. "Not terrible, but even if the two sides are trying to agree on basic principles to have the negotiators take it on after, I think they could have gone a bit further and a bit more ambitious."

Kim and Carlin came to the consensus that the summit was an important initial move in re-establishing a relationship between the United States and North Korea, but several questions still remain.

"They got the word 'complete denuclearization' in there, but what does that exactly mean? Did Trump and Kim agree on the definition? On the scope? On the timetable? So that's key," Kim said.  

Both North Korea experts wanted to see more details within the joint statement. For example, the means and methods of the United States' security guarantee to North Korea are unclear, and it does not establish who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Korean counterpart will be for future negotiations.

"This is going to be a process and each one of these papers will be a layer," Carlin said.

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Carlin says the summit put North Korea in a very visible position on the world stage with high expectations for success.

"If you've been in negotiations, you know that the piece of paper that emerges doesn't even begin to reflect what actually went on in terms of the human interaction, and in terms of the level of confidence that you might have begun to establish," he said.

Although the United Nations classifies North Korea as the world's worst offender of human rights, the topic notably did not factor into negotiations between Mr. Trump and Kim.

Neither Carlin nor Kim were surprised by this revelation, saying that ultimately the choice for Mr. Trump likely came down to saving a few hundred thousand lives by countering human rights violations in North Korea versus saving potentially millions of lives by aiming for denuclearization.

"Every country's government has to pick and choose what's of priority, what's most urgent," Kim said. "And the threat to the United States with nuclear weapons, weapons that could completely obliterate South Korea, Japan, perhaps even the United States at one point -- security concerns usually always top the agenda."

North Korea wants the world to take it seriously. And Carlin says that when it showed that it could potentially hit the continental United States with nukes, "Americans started paying serious attention and that's what they wanted."

"Having achieved that, they don't have any reason to hold on to those ICBMs that much longer. They were attention-getters, they had no intention at all of fielding an arsenal of ICBMs to hit the United States."