The Trump-Kim Summit: What You Need to Know

The Trump-Kim Summit: What You Need to Know

The Trump-Kim Summit: What You Need to Know

At the Capella hotel on Singapore's Sentosa island, a popular resort destination, Trump and Kim will first meet at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday (11 a.m. AEST) for a handshake and photo op.

The summit, the first time a sitting USA president meets a North Korean leader, was almost called off just two weeks before the event. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the plans and insisted on anonymity.

Despite the initial high stakes of a summit meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-each-other meeting.

Their meeting at a luxury hotel in Singapore, scheduled for 9 a.m. local time - which is 9 p.m. on Monday night NY time - will mark the first face-to-face encounter between a U.S. president and a leader of North Korea.

Last year, it would have been a rare sight to see a North Korean flag flying anywhere in Asia.

Kim was not believed to have left his hotel since a meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong soon after his arrival in the city on Sunday, but he ventured out on Monday evening.

Officials from the two sides held last-minute talks aimed at laying the groundwork for a meeting that was nearly unthinkable just months ago when the two leaders were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war. The article also stresses the need for confidentiality - meaning Trump will have to resist tweeting the minutes of the meeting.

He took to Twitter to say that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis should oppose the meeting "in writing".

If all goes well, the meeting could help pave the way for denuclearisation of the entire Korean Peninsula.

He said the USA would be satisfied with nothing less than the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula - with verification the key part of any deal.

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

"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 U.S. 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 insisted the U.S. would accept nothing less than complete denuclearisation. A second round of meetings was planned for the afternoon as officials worked to lay the groundwork for progress to be made Tuesday, according to the official familiar with the preparations.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire US mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the USA and the North.

But he has since lowered expectations, backing away from an original demand for North Korea's swift denuclearisation.

"It's hospitality that we would have offered them, and as Chairman Kim said yesterday, he would have liked to have come to Singapore anyway, with or without the summit", Dr. Balakrishnan told the BBC. However, he took a U-turn soon and said the White House was proceeding with the preparations for the summit.

In a statement Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I want to pay a particular tribute to Prime Minister Trudeau for his leadership and skillful chairing". "We were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit, and I would like to thank you for that", Kim, speaking through an interpreter, told Lee.

But amid the flurry of diplomacy on the peninsula triggered by the Winter Olympics, Kim reached out to his estranged protector, appearing suddenly in Beijing in March to finally pay his respects to Xi Jinping - six years after inheriting power.

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.

"And I don't think either interpreter will be in a position to correct the record if the self-reporting by Kim and Trump doesn't reflect what was actually said in the same manner and tone", said Jenny Town, assistant director of the U.S. -Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News. The talks are expected to focus at least in part on an eventual deal to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has also arrived in Singapore and emerged from the baggage claim area at Changi airport around midnight Monday.

White House officials have said Rodman will play no official role in the diplomatic negotiations. Kim's move was an encouraging sign, to be sure, but it was not an agreement on "denuclearization". He's been a veteran diplomat on the issue of North Korea for over a decade.

Trump, nevertheless, on nearly a daily basis says and writes things that are demonstrably untrue ― sometimes doing so even though he knows what he is saying is untrue. "That's what I do".


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