Trump, Kim land in Singapore ahead of high-stakes summit

Monday, 11 Jun, 2018

US President Donald Trump trusts his deal-making intuition to prepare for talks with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean autocrat's every move will be followed by 3,000 journalists who have converged on Singapore - and by gawkers around the world - up until he shakes hands with Trump on Tuesday.

Trump and Kim are set to meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Singapore, which is 9 p.m. Monday on the U.S. East Coast. While Kim and his delegation are now staying at the St. Regis Hotel amid heavy security.

The Japanese prime minister will have been encouraged by Trump's insistence - during a joint Rose Garden press conference - that the summit will be only the start of a process and his vow to raise the issue of Japanese abductees in the North.

May 30: North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years, arrives in NY for pre-summit negotiations with Mr Pompeo. He calls for improved relations and engagement with South Korea, though adds that he has a nuclear button on his desk.

No one, not even Trump himself, expects this one meeting to produce a comprehensive agreement on denuclearization, but if the two men manage to get to the first historic handshake, it will be a huge achievement for them both personally and a feather in Trump's cap when it comes to his unconventional style of global diplomacy. There, Trump announced the summit was back on for June 12.

Then Trump hit an assortment of topics, including trade, North Korea and kept pushing for reinstatement Russia, which had been tossed from what was then the G-8 in 2014, after the country annexed Crimea and endorsed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

The two are due to meet on Tuesday on the resort island of Sentosa for their high-stakes summit, the first-ever talks between the United States and North Korean leader and the culmination of a head-spinning diplomatic dance.

"I am on my way to Singapore where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World", Trump wrote in a pair of tweets. She said she expects at a minimum for Trump to walk away from the summit with "an understanding that this is a real problem for us".

Lee said he hoped the summit would lead to greater "security and stability" in the region.

Trump also praised the North Koreans, saying they have been "really working very well with us" during preparations for the summit, even though Trump had canceled the summit last month following a recent period of what he called "tremendous anger and open hostility" from the North Korean government.

Dare I say it, conventional politics would not have got us to the point where we are now.

Trump very publicly claimed his tough talk on Twitter had brought a breakthrough and Kim encouraged his claim by blowing up a supposed weapons depot in front of Western news cameras and releasing three American prisoners for Trump to greet on their return home. Kim also released a statement in September that said he will "surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged USA dotard with fire".

He has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty.

It initially was meant to rid the North of its weapons, to forge the "complete denuclearization" of the country.

US defense and intelligence officials have assessed the North to be on the threshold of having the capability to strike anywhere in the continental USA with a nuclear-tipped missile - a capacity that Trump and other USA officials have said they would not tolerate.

He went on to say that the goal of the summit would "be more meaningful with Russian Federation".

Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim a recognition North Korea has long sought, setting him up as global player and equal to the US domestically and, internationally, as the leader of a "normal country" worthy of respect.