Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

'Excitement in the air' ahead of Kim meeting

The Harebrained Summit Trump says he has clear objective for North Korea summit
Faye Gross | 11 June, 2018, 10:53

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un were preparing for their historic summit in Singapore as both sides tried to narrow differences before the two leaders come face to face on Tuesday.

Trump has said he hopes to make a legacy-defining deal for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though he has recently sought to minimize expectations, saying more than one meeting may be necessary. USA officials were quoted as saying that the two leaders could spend the first two hours alone with translators but not advisors.

Trump on Monday morning broke into a Twitter tirade about trade directed at America's European allies with the upbeat message: "Great to be in Singapore, excitement is in the air!". Attending the lunch with Trump were Pompeo, Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly. US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim and North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui are expected to have a final coordination session, . following the six rounds of meetings they had in the inter-Korean village of Panmunjom to discuss the summit agenda.

During a security lockdown inside and outside Singapore's five-star St. Regis hotel before the arrival of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday, only two journalists moved freely along the blockaded street, flanked by crowds penned back by police.

Several of the reporters who accompanied Kim to Singapore had also been to the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas in April for the inter-Korean summit.

On Monday, North Korean state media said Kim and Trump would discuss a "permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism" on the Korean peninsula, denuclearisation of the peninsula and other issues of mutual concern. "And he has that opportunity, and he won't have that opportunity again".

Kim, in his first public comments since arriving, said Singapore's role would be recorded in history if the summit was a success.

North Korea has so far presented Kim's sudden diplomatic overtures to his neighbors and to the United States as a logical next step following what Kim has claimed is the completion of his plan to develop a credible nuclear deterrent to what Pyongyang has long claimed is a policy of hostility and "nuclear blackmail" by Washington.

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The motorcade carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leaves the Istana, or Presidential Palace, in Singapore on Sunday on June 10, 2018, after his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The North Korean delegation, which was led by Choe Son Hui, the vice foreign minister, also was mum as it arrived a few minutes later.

Ahead of his much-anticipated meeting with Kim, the US President sounded optimistic and said the meeting would be a "one-time shot" at peace.

Mr Kim's Air China flight from Pyongyang touched down at the VIP terminal of Changi Airport on Sunday at about 2.40pm, while Mr Trump's Air Force One landed at Paya Lebar Airbase close to 8pm.

After a flurry of contacts between the two Koreas, South Korean officials suggested to Trump in March that Kim would be willing to meet face-to-face.

Kim held a meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead of the planned summit.

Trump and other top US officials have promised a "bright future" for the North if it quickly relinquishes its nuclear weapons - including economic inducements and a security agreement.

The talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session. China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.

Security around Kim's hotel was extremely tight and guests were prohibited from going in and out, hours before Kim's black Mercedes Benz limousine cruised in.

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