Trump meeting Singapore PM ahead of Kim summit

Posted June 15, 2018

"Maybe we'll start with the White House, what do you think?" he said when asked if Kim would be invited to Washington or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The meeting to be held here.

President Trump has said he will use the summit, scheduled to begin Tuesday, to push for North Korea's denuclearization.

USA and North Korean officials met Monday at the Ritz Carlton in this island city-state to negotiate before the first sit-down between a US president and a North Korean leader, which is meant to settle a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the tropical city-state on Sunday for the historic meeting, which will be the first time leaders of the two countries have come face-to-face.

Under both the Obama and Trump administrations, the U.S. has deployed massive amounts of military personnel and hardware, completely out of proportion to the supposed North Korean threat, including nuclear-capable bombers, aircraft carriers and assassination squads, sharply escalating tensions and risking the outbreak of war. Trump 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.

Later, Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, ushered Kim around the palace office to shake hands with officials, pose for pictures and chat from regal cream-colored chairs - all broadcast live to the world from a government Facebook account.

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North Korea's Kim landed in Singapore earlier yesterday.

In this image from a video, a Singapore police coast guard vessel patrols the waters off Sentosa.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.

Menendez spoke Sunday on ABC's "This Week" as President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore ahead of Tuesday's talks with Kim.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he "could hardly sleep last night" in anticipation of the meeting and expressed hope for "complete denuclearization and peace". German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she found Trump's tweet disavowing the G-7 statement "a little depressing".

But Trump said: "We could absolutely sign an agreement and we're looking at it", adding: "Sounds a little bit unusual, but that's probably the easy part".

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Pompeo traveled twice to Pyongyang in recent months to lay the groundwork for Trump's meeting, becoming the most senior member of Trump's team to spend time with Kim face to face.

Mr Trump 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.

Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim a recognition North Korea has long sought, setting him up as global player and the leader of a country worthy of respect. "Kim will be eager for those, especially as he will want minimal changes to other parts of the economy".

He and Trump are set to meet Tuesday morning in the first summit of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting USA president.

Lee Jong-seok, who helped shape the Sunshine Policy from the early 1990s and became unification minister in 2006, says he is still "unthinkably sorry and heartbroken" when he recalls Kim Dae-jung's crestfallen face after he told him he would not be able to go. North Korea could also potentially be brought into new trans-Asian trade routes to challenge Beijing's One Belt, One Road Initiative.

Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea's willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country's warheads and radioactive materials, much of which is likely kept in a vast complex of underground facilities. But he has since lowered expectations, backing away from an original demand for North Korea's swift denuclearisation.He has said the talks would be more about starting a relationship with Kim for a negotiating process that would take more than one summit.White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said USA and North Korean officials would hold working-level talks on Monday.

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But some question why Kim should trust any guarantees given Trump's history of pulling out of accords - most recently the painstakingly negotiated Iran nuclear deal. Chinese media labeled Kim's announcement North Korea's "opening and reform", shorthand for Deng's policies, sparking a flurry of investment in housing in Dandong, the Chinese border town.