Friday, 21 September, 2018

Historic summit: Countdown on for Trump and Kim meeting

Singapore pays for Kim Jong Un’s hotel during Trump summit Modal Trigger Kim Jong Un Getty Images
Orlando Vargas | 12 June, 2018, 05:16

North Korean Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump are preparing for a June 12th nuclear summit in Singapore.

Rodman has no official role in the diplomatic efforts between his country and North Korea, but he appears to be invested in promoting positive ties between Washington and Pyongyang.

The White House announced Monday that Trump would leave Singapore Tuesday night after meeting with Kim, adding that talks between US and North Korean officials "are ongoing and have moved more quickly than expected".

Last month, her threat to scuttle the summit and description of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy" prompted Trump to pull out of his meeting with Kim, although he quickly reversed his decision.

Trump and Kim are staying in separate hotels less that a kilometre apart in the famous Orchard Road area of Singapore, dotted with high-rise luxury apartment blocks, offices and glittering shopping malls.

For Kim, about half Trump's age and representing the third generation of North Korea's ruling dynasty, the summit affords both him and his long-isolated country the worldwide legitimacy his father and grandfather could only dream of. Both leaders have committed to "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", but it's unclear what specific steps North Korea is willing to take to get there.

Around twenty minutes earlier, Trump's top North Korea negotiator, ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, arrived with one adviser, smiling at a scrum of television cameras and reporters gathered outside the hotel.

The stakes are high - the US seeks nothing less than the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and Kim wants to see the sanctions on the North eased.

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Lobster bisque, beef tenderloin and ice cream were on the lunch menu, and there was also an early birthday cake for Trump, who turns 72 on Thursday. Trump traveled to Singapore from Canada, where he attended a meeting with other world leaders. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, he told reporters that he wasn't sure if he would even meet Kim in Singapore.

The North Korean leader has also said he now wants to focus on building the country's economy - and wants sanctions relief and global investment.

Trump said last week that Rodman had not been invited to the summit.

Kim is due to meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later on Sunday, Singapore's ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.

There has been no indication Rodman would be involved in any official talks at the summit, which is aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and missiles in exchange for economic incentives and security guarantees. China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.

A man watches a television news screen showing US President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a railway station in Seoul on May 25, 2018. Meanwhile, Mr Kim has called Mr Trump "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Another possibility from the summit is a deal to end the Korean War, which North Korea has long demanded, presumably, in part, to get U.S. troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea.

"The ultimate objective we seek from diplomacy with North Korea has not changed - the complete, verifiable and irreversible de-nuclearization of the Korea peninsula is only outcome that the United States will accept", declared Pompeo. Delegates were outlining specific goals for what the leaders should try to accomplish and multiple scenarios for resolving key issues, a senior U.S official said, adding that the meetings were also an ice breaker of sorts, allowing the teams to get better acquainted after decades of minimal contact between their nations.

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