Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Singapore summit: Kim's running bodyguards back in action

US troops in South Korea Image The presence of US forces on the peninsula is a stumbling block on the path to peace
Ginger Lawrence | 11 June, 2018, 16:13

North Korea's state media has talked of a "new relationship" with the US.

The world is crossing its fingers.

"North Korea's increased dialogue with other countries is a positive step, but before the world gets too excited they should remember that Kim Jong Un still presides over perhaps the most repressive system in the world", he said.

Pompeo, who was in Singapore, did not go into specific details about how the USA would secure the country, but he said talks between the US and North Korea are moving briskly.

The summit will be the first meeting between Trump and Kim and mark a turnaround of relations between the two leaders after a long-running exchange of furious threats and insults.

North Korea also conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September, which Pyongyang said was a successful hydrogen bomb detonation.

Trump is set to meet with Lee on Monday.

"Trump is a publicity seeker".

Then came the New Year, an Olympics in South Korea and change.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that veteran diplomat Sung Kim is leading the US delegation in a working group meeting Monday at the city-state's Ritz Carlton hotel.

"I don't think I have to prepare very much", Trump said bluntly during a press conference Thursday. "North Korea knew just the line to stop". They didn't go further.

"We have had substantive and detailed meetings to date, including this morning with the North Koreans", he said.

It's not just the logistics of Kim's trip that are unclear.

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Kim also gets an "obvious and immediate win" by simply meeting with Trump, writes Joseph Yun, who was the top US diplomat on North Korea until March. However, it can not be the only topic of discussion between Trump and Kim.

Singapore has spent $S20 million hosting the summit, half of that on security costs, with Lee saying it was "in our profound interest" to contribute to such an worldwide endeavour.

When Trump and Kim meet at 9am local time on Tuesday at Sentosa, a resort island off Singapore's port, they will be making history.

Whether such a deal can be done, Trump declared on Saturday, is something he will know nearly from the moment they meet. It comes as officials are revealing more details about meeting - the first between a USA president and North Korean leader.

Trusted officials would maintain control of fixed telecommunications hotlines in the country, and there is likely a code system to activate the systems involved in launching North Korea's ballistic missiles.

The standard thinking goes that he needs quick help to stabilize and then rebuild an economy that has suffered amid a decades-long pursuit of nuclear bombs, and that the North Koreans see a unique chance to win concessions, legitimacy and protection from a meeting with a highly unconventional USA president who's willing to consider options past American leaders would not.

So the summit was almost derailed by talk from Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton of a "Libya model" of disarmament.

Following a sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held a private meeting with US President Donald Trump this afternoon ahead of tomorrow's big summit. "The haters, they say, 'Oh, you're giving him a meeting, '" Trump said.

First the nuts and bolts: How do you protect what many North Koreans consider their single most precious resource, the third member of the Kim family to rule and a direct descendant of North Korea's worshipped founder Kim Il Sung?

Reunification, he said, would be impossible because four powers - the US, China, Russia and Japan - do not want to see a unified Korea. North Korea does not have a problem with coming to an agreement.

North Korea wants a staged approach to dismantling its nuclear weapons program and a security guarantee from the United States in return.

Suzanne DiMaggio, director and senior fellow at New America, said a statement on denuclearization is the best that can be hoped for at this point.

A complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization "is the only outcome that the United States will accept", Pompeo told reporters on Monday evening in Singapore.