Monday, 25 June, 2018

President Donald Trump meets with Kim Jong Un

US President Donald Trump waves upon his arrival at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore before his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un REUTERS Kim Kyung-HoonTea for Two What May Come of Trump Kim Summit in Singapore
Ellis Copeland | 14 June, 2018, 05:41

It wasn't immediately clear what specific progress, if any, had been made in preliminary discussions between USA and North Korean officials in the run-up to the Tuesday summit.

Key gaps remain over what denuclearisation would entail for two countries that have been enemies since the 1950-1953 Korean War, and the officials were trying to push the agenda forward before the leaders meet on Tuesday.

The leaders met at Lee's official residence the Istana, where Kim Jong-un sat down with Lee on Sunday. According to Singapore media, Trump will depart tomorrow at around 7 p.m. from the Paya Lebar Airbase.

Chosun Ilbo speculates that part of the reason North Korean officials only revealed that Kim left the country after he had returned is that Kim "at first seemed nervous that discontent in the unruly military or the Pyongyang elite could bubble over in his absence".

The meeting is scheduled to start at 9 am (Singaporean time) or 6:30 am (Indian Standard Time).

"It (the meeting) will be made to look like steps in the right direction for both sides, with details to follow", he said.

One analyst told Al Jazeera Trump will seek to promote his image as a deal-maker.

"We can expect a one on one at the beginning", Palladino was quoted as saying by The Straits Times. "We will be fine!"

At the same time, Trump stressed that Washington would not accept Pyongyang's refusal to denuclearize.

Trump is hoping to get Kim to agree to get rid of his nuclear weapons, though he has said it may take many more meetings to get to that point.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the preparatory talks had been moving rapidly but played down the possibility of a quick breakthrough. Whether that historic first meeting between a sitting United States president and North Korean leader proves substantive is another matter.

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But Pompeo's comments sought to reaffirm the high benchmark the U.S. is setting for Trump and Kim to reach an agreement. President Trump showed in practical actions his strong determination to resolve the issues of North Korean nuclear weapons and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump had tweeted over the weekend: "I am on my way to Singapore where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World".

In the latest twist in the drama-filled talks, Mr Trump announced overnight that he would be leaving Singapore early because the negotiations had moved "more quickly than expected".

The public will quickly find out how Trump viewed the summit.

Negotiators from the United States and North Korea met on and off Monday to iron out details ahead of the summit, largely ignoring throngs of reporters as they hopped between luxury hotels. We may finally be on the verge of such a change, or we may not, but North Korean denuclearisation can only work within the context of this broader systemic change.

"We will not be surprised by any scenario", said the official. That remains true, even with Donald Trump across the negotiating table. How long will it take to figure out whether or not they are serious? "He just goes and he does it".

Mr Trump has announced the restoration of United States sanctions, while European leaders are trying to preserve the deal. If that's the approach Trump is instinctively drawn to, U.S. officials and experts worry Trump could make the concession in his first meeting with Kim. -North Korea meetings, including translators, photographers and logistical staff, asking how they can be sure they are not actually spies. Rather, the North Koreans prefer a phased, synchronised and comprehensive solution that would fold denuclearisation into a much larger package of diplomatic and economic normalisation. Will they simply shake hands?

In April, weird footage emerged of 12 smartly dressed bodyguards running alongside Kim's limousine as he left a meeting with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in. And how will Trump react if he does?

Pompeo, addressing reporters ahead of the summit, said the USA was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with "sufficient certainty" that denuclearization "is not something that ends badly for them".

Kim smiled broadly in the meeting Sunday evening.

It is unclear what Mr Trump and Mr Kim might decide on Tuesday.

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