US President Trump arrives in Singapore for historic Trump-Kim summit

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un arrive in Singapore for historic summit

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un arrive in Singapore for historic summit

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at Workers' Party of Korea headquarters in Pyongyang, North Korea.

From Pyongyang, the North's official media Monday carried comparatively detailed reports on leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Singapore, including his arrival date and plan to hold his first meeting with Trump on Tuesday.

Rodong Sinmun newspaper also seems to be preparing people for talks with the "enemy", publishing an editorial on North Korea's need to establish relations with other countries. News agency Associated Press cited a U.S. official saying that the two leaders will be accompanied by their translators during the one-on-one for about two hours.

Instead, Pompeo suggested the summit, while historic, might yield little in the way of concrete success other than to pave the way for more meetings in the future.

Yet Trump and Kim have yet to agree even on how to define denuclearization of the Korean peninsula - the stated goal of the meeting.

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

Beyond the impact on both leaders' political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people - the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North's nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.

"It may be a practical reason, but at the same time it was a symbolic move to show its people that China has North Korea's back and China could be there for the North if the whole denuclearisation process with the USA doesn't work", Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Seoul's Dongguk University, told AFP.

North Korean-US Summit
Image credit ULI-PwC report

"He was my counterpart in the South-North denuclearisation talks in 2011", he said.

A US ambassador to South Korea during the Obama administration, he led the advance talks with North Korea in the border village of Panmunjom. Laboriously negotiated past nuclear deals, considered breakthroughs at the time, broke down on North Korea's extreme sensitivity to allowing in outsiders to look at whether they're dismantling their nuclear facilities, many of which are thought to be hidden.

Kim arrived in a Air China 747 that touched down at Changi Airport on Sunday afternoon, Singapore's Straits Times said. However, he took a U-turn soon and said the White House was proceeding with the preparations for the summit. Trump had previously said the talks might extend beyond the first day. I think that very quickly I'll know whether or not something good is going to happen. It is believed that Trump and Kim will begin with a two-hour one-on-one session with translators, before an expanded meeting that includes advisers.

Pompeo, who shifted to his current role in the spring after serving as Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director, spent Monday morning preparing with his top advisers, aides said. On the U.S. side, Trump was to be joined by Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, along with a few others.

A man in Seoul, South Korea, watches news footage of a North Korean missile launch in May 2016.

The North has presented Kim's sudden diplomatic overtures to the country's neighbours and the U.S. as a logical next step and completion of his plan to develop a credible nuclear deterrent in response to what Pyongyang says is a policy of "nuclear blackmail" by Washington.

That may be even more important to Trump in the wake of the disastrous G-7 summit. North Korea has spent decades building up a nuclear arsenal at great cost.

Singapore is one of the few countries that have diplomatic relations with both the USA and North Korea.


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