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Trump, Kim Converge On Singapore Ahead Of High-Stakes Summit

15 June 2018
Trump, Kim Converge On Singapore Ahead Of High-Stakes Summit

"One thing that we do know for sure is the president's uncontrollable need to defend his status is more apparent than any strategy when (it) comes to bilateral trade negotiations", said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA. The meeting to be held here.

Now he is poised to become the first sitting US president to meet with a North Korean leader.

The North Korean motorcade, believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, travels along Singapore's Orchard Road, Sunday, 10 June, 2018, ahead of the summit with USA president Donald Trump.

Many experts on North Korea, one of the most insular and unpredictable countries in the world, remain sceptical Kim will ever completely abandon nuclear weapons.

Lee Hye-ji, a 31-year-old housewife, was "hopeful" about the Trump-Kim meeting, adding she was less interested in denuclearisation than a declaration that the Korean War was over, 65 years after hostilities stopped with a ceasefire rather than 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. He could be seen speeding through Singapore on Sunday in a black limousine adorned with large North Korean flags.

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

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines who has taken the lead on policy negotiations with the North, will hold a "working group" with a North Korean delegation to discuss final preparations for the meeting.

It's unclear what Trump and Kim might decide Tuesday.

Some analysts said Trump's problems at the G-7 could put pressure on him to deliver on Singapore, perhaps to Kim's benefit.

Reuters. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore
Reuters. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore

Trump, who arrived Sunday night, tweeted Monday morning: "Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!"

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". Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim recognition as the leader of a "normal" country and as an equal of the US leader.

"[President Trump] is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea", Kudlow said on CNN's State of the Union.

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.

The summit will be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting American president.

The two leaders exchanged insults as fears of war grew.

Those points were echoed in Monday's media coverage, which stressed that the talks with Trump would be focused on forging a relationship that is more in tune with what it called changing times - most likely meaning the North's new status as a nuclear weapons state - its desire for a mechanism to ensure a lasting a durable peace on the Korean Peninsula and, finally, denuclearization.

This photo, taken from the Korean Central News Agency on June 11, 2018, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting an honor guard in Pyongyang before leaving for Singapore the previous day. "It is time to focus on how North Korea oppresses its people", Yeonmi Park, a defector who now lives in NY, told Reuters on June 11.

Officials remain uncertain what will come out of Tuesday's unprecedented summit, the first of its kind between a sitting USA president and the leader of North Korea. A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. side was entering the talks with a sense of optimism and an equal dose of scepticism given North Korea's long history of developing nuclear weapons. South Korea's Hankook Ilbo reported that Singapore recommended the St. Regis, which hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping during his 2015 summit with Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, because it can be easily secured. While the United States and Canada fight over dairy trade, the Kim meeting concerns the fate of nuclear weapons.

"The G-7 blowup increases the chance that Trump makes concessions so that the Kim summit looks like a success", said Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of global politics with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.