Sunday, 26 May, 2019

How the Trump-Kim summit eventually came together

Flight from Pyongyang lands in Singapore ahead of North Korean leader’s arrival Trump, Kim arrive in Singapore ahead of high-stakes summit
Deanna Wagner | 11 June, 2018, 05:28

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking with officers at the Home Team command post for the summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Island on Tuesday.

Trump touched down in Singapore on Air Force One Sunday, where he was greeted by Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and the U.S. Embassy's chargé d'affaires Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Singapore for historic talks with US President Donald Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sung Kim, the U.S. 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.

The Flightradar24 website also showed that there were no civilian planes anywhere near Kim's flight, despite it passing through a usually busy area for such aircraft.

Japan, a USA ally whose diplomatic policies largely mirror Washington's, is relying on Trump because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been unable to meet Kim. Trump is expected to hold talks with Lee on Monday.

"Therefore, when the two sides asked us to host the meeting, we can not say no", PM Lee said.

"We will have seen each other".

"I went to the train station (in Pyongyang) and it was the busiest I've ever seen it", said the founder of the Dandong-based INDPRK tour company, who goes by the name Griffin Che.

Even if brief, the meeting could potentially be the start of a broader dialogue between Trump and Kim.

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Trump yesterday declared that the young dictator had a "one-time shot" to bring his country in from the cold with the summit.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months, trading insults and threatening war before abruptly changing tack and moving towards a face-to-face meeting.

Last year it carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, sending tensions soaring to a level unseen in years as a newly-elected Trump traded threats of war and colorful personal insults with Kim, with Trump dubbed a "dotard" and Kim "Little Rocket Man". "That's a tough position".

Other than meeting fans, the pair also spoke with local and worldwide media, many of whom had arrived in Singapore ahead of the summit tomorrow.

Notably, the law imposes restrictions not just on these North Korean entities, but on any companies, banks or other entities that might want to do business with entities controlled by the North Korean government.

After inheriting a nuclear programme that was fitful and making little progress, Kim poured socialist North Korea's limited money into developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of hitting the United States. It also successfully tested missiles that can reach the USA mainland.

The tests came amid a campaign of "maximum pressure", led by Washington, that tightened economic sanctions against Pyongyang and raised the possibility of military action.

In a New Year's address, Kim said his country had completed development of its nuclear programme and would focus on economic development, suggesting a meeting with South Korea.

The North Korean leader arrived in Singapore midday Sunday, flying on a Chinese jet to the Changi Airport.

What's at stake for North Korea and the USA when their two leaders meet in Singapore for talks next week.

Victor Teo, professor at the University of Hong Kong, believes "North Koreans are upbeat, but careful at the same time".