Thursday, 16 August, 2018

North Korea's Kim lands in Singapore ahead of summit with Trump

US troops doing tank drills in South Korea Image US troops are doing tank drills in South Korea
Deanna Wagner | 11 June, 2018, 13:55

The summit - the first between a sitting U.S. president and any North Korean Leader - will mark a turnaround of relations between Trump and Kim after a long-running exchange of furious threats and insults.

Trump told Lee that "we appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and your friendship".

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

U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim led the United States delegation while Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui was part of North Korea's delegation.

Trump was greeted by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Trump said: "Very good". "It's a one-time shot".

At 10am, Choi strode into the Ritz Carlton with her team of four.

The meeting was Trump's only scheduled public event as White House officials prepared for the critical meeting on Tuesday with Kim.

"North Korea can not denuclearise completely right now and hope to be safe from a president who said we're going to rain fire and fury on you, from a country that's been calling you evil for 25 years", said Horacio Falcao, a negotiations expert at the INSEAD graduate business school in Singapore.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US remains committed to achieving the 'complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula'. Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea's reluctance to open its doors to outsiders. The Korean War of the early 1950s ended with a ceasefire, not a treaty.

Expectations for the summit were being tempered by South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who said: "The deep-rooted hostile relationship and the North Korean nuclear issue can not be resolved in one single action in a meeting between leaders".

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However, others reported that the Air China Boeing 747 took off before the leader's jet did by an hour or two as a security measure to avoid making his mode of transportation known.

Late on Monday. Trump phoned Moon from Singapore.

Trump flew into Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base on Sunday aboard Air Force One.

As Kim's black Mercedes arrived at the St Regis hotel in downtown Singapore, it was flanked by bodyguards in identical black suits jogging alongside the vehicle.

Chairman Kim yesterday held a meeting with Prime Minister Lee. The fake negotiators remained out of sight as the real men hit the streets on Monday.

Tuesday's meeting will be the first time a serving USA president has sat down with the leader of North Korea, and comes just months after fears of conflict soared as the two traded personal insults and threats of war.

Trump was joined at the meeting with Lee by USA officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Kim Jong Un has invited Donald Trump to visit Pyongyang for a second summit in July, it has been reported.

A second round of meetings was planned for the afternoon as officials worked to lay the groundwork for progress to be made Tuesday on substantive issues, according to the official familiar with the preparations. In a sign of lingering tensions, the North Koreans have been closely scrutinizing all American staffers who are slated to be in any U.S.

Most experts say North Korea's nuclear program is so large and the process of dismantling it is so complex that the only way to succeed is to engage Pyongyang in gradual negotiations that could stretch for years.