North Korea gets first big dose of Trump summit news

11 June, 2018, 10:54 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Flight from Pyongyang lands in Singapore ahead of North Korean leader’s arrival

The understated photo op belied the intensive behind-the-scenes negotiations that continued between the USA and North Korean delegations less than 24 hours before Trump was scheduled to meet Kim at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, just off Singapore's southern coast.

During a sendoff ceremony at Pyongyang International Airport, Kim boarded a Chinese plane provided for his personal use after greeting senior officials who came to bid him farewell, KCNA reported.

Kim arrived with Kim Yong-chol, his right-hand man and Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

Korean Studies Institute director David Kang lowered expectations for Tuesday's summit, saying: "The most we can hope to get out of this is that Kim and Trump find that they can have some working relationship".

Singapore is hosting this year's meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has seen the USA and China jockey for diplomatic influence in recent weeks.

Kim met with Lee on Sunday.

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Singapore has spent $S20 million ($19.7 million) hosting the summit, half of that security costs, with Mr Lee saying it was "in our profound interest" to contribute to such an global endeavour. "And he has that opportunity, and he won't have that opportunity again", Trump said.

The motorcade carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leaves the Istana, or Presidential Palace, in Singapore on Sunday on June 10, 2018, after his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Menendez spoke Sunday on ABC's "This Week" as President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday's talks with Kim. Summit venues and travel are also being protected by Singaporean police, Reuters reports.

The U.S. also wishes to win agreement on tangible denuclearization commitments from the North.

Experts believe the North is on the brink of being able to target the entire United States mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North. "And I think it's going to work out very well".

The U.S. president also dangled the prospect of inviting Kim to Washington if the meeting is a success.

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Others include Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, who has been heavily involved in preparatory talks, and Kim Chang-son, who discussed protocol with the U.S.in Singapore for the last two weeks and accompanied Kim Jong-un on his itinerary. The conflict ended in an armistice that sealed the division of the peninsula.

He initially touted the potential for a grand bargain with North Korea to rid itself of a nuclear missile programme that has advanced rapidly to threaten the United States.

But in April, Kim announced a shift from a focus on building his nuclear arsenal to one of bolstering his tattered economy.

Trump had called Kim "Little Rocket Man" and threatened to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea as it conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of worldwide warnings.

Trump and other top USA officials have promised a "bright future" for the North if it quickly relinquishes its nuclear weapons - including economic inducements and a security agreement. But many say this is highly unlikely, given how hard it has been for Kim to build his program and given that the weapons are seen as the major guarantee to his holding onto unchecked power.

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