There is hope, but ample skepticism among those who served in the Korean War about President Donald Trump's announcement that he is suspending U.S. military exercises in South Korea in the wake of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At the summit in Singapore this week, Kim signed an agreement to denuclearize the nation.

For some, it was a step in the right direction.

Arthur Pellerin, of Westford, served in the Army during the Korean War.

"I'm glad that President Trump is really doing a good deed by bringing this thing to close," Pellerin said. "As far as I can see, he's determined to turn things around. I hope he can. It will take time, though. It's not going to be something that will be done in a week.

Joyce Dalton of Wilmington, left, and her sister Verlie Quinan of Centerville, Cape Cod, with a framed photo of their late brother, from their trip to
Joyce Dalton of Wilmington, left, and her sister Verlie Quinan of Centerville, Cape Cod, with a framed photo of their late brother, from their trip to South Korea as guests of the Korean War Veterans Revisit Korea Program. Their brother, US Navy Ens. Ronald Dow Eaton, was missing in action in Korea, and his body was never recovered. (SUN/Julia Malakie) (Julia Malakie)
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But for others, like Lowell's Joe Dussault, this is bad news.

Dussault, director of Operations of the Veterans Memorial Park in Lowell, served both in the Vietnam and the Korean wars. Dussault said the bottom line is he just does not trust the North Korean leader.

"I think it's a bad deal. We're going to start this, we're going to do everything that they want us to do, then it's going to weaken our positions with South Korea," Dussault said. He added that as long as Kim Jong Un is in command, he does not foresee peaceful relations between the U.S. and North Korea.

Dussault said the country should instead wait to see whether Kim Jong Un is trustworthy and honest.

"The friends that I lost in Korea, they gave up their lives to protect a country," he said.


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"And if we're going to meet with this man (Kim Jong Un) and just forget about our people that we lost, who fought and were trying to save a country, I'm sorry the United States is wrong for doing that."

Billerica Veterans Director Kenneth Buffum said only time will tell what this agreement actually means for the nations.

"They have to work out all the details on it, so it will be interesting to see how the outcome of this thing really comes out," said Buffum, a World War II veteran. "It's a good idea if it works, but this is the third time they've gone into an agreement with North Korea, and they reneged the last two times, so they have to be watched."

He said one major positive outcome would be if the remains of the American prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action are found and returned, which could finally provide closure to military families.

"The potential is there, but whether North Korea holds up to the agreement remains to be seen," Buffum said.

Joyce Dalton, of Wilmington, was never able to have a proper burial of her brother, Ronald Dow Eaton, who served in the Navy during the Korean War. The Wilmington native was just 22 years old when he died in combat.

"I was hoping something would come of it so we can retrieve the missing," Dalton said of the summit. "That's my real hope -- to see if we can get my brother back."

Dalton said while it is ideal that relations will improve with North Korea, she will not get her hopes up. Her sister, Verlie Quinan, who lives on Cape Cod, said she feels positive about the future.

"I think it's great and it's a long time coming. Everyone has been anxious for this to happen," Quinan said. "There will be so many people happy when they finally get these bodies identified."

Quinan did point out that it is still early in the negotiations, so hopefully nothing will interrupt any progress that may come.

"I just hope something happens to help our country and our service people over there," Dussault said. "The Korean people, especially, they suffered enough all those years. Today they're still suffering and they're not safe. I wish them all the luck in the world."

Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.