Monday, 18 June, 2018

Trump Kim summit: North Korea sets out its Singapore agenda

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Preston Stone | 11 June, 2018, 14:31

It was only Monday morning North Korea time that the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, reported Kim was in Singapore, had met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and would meet Trump on Tuesday.

In the lead up to the summit, North Korea rejected any unilateral nuclear disarmament, and KCNA's reference to denuclearisation of the peninsula has historically meant that Pyongyang wants the United States to remove its "nuclear umbrella" protecting South Korea and Japan.

Trump and Kim are staying in separate hotels in the famous Orchard Road area of Singapore, dotted with high-rise luxury apartment blocks, offices and glittering shopping malls.

The pair had a working lunch together, and Trump was presented with a cake ahead of his 72nd birthday, which is on June 14.

North Korea has rejected giving up its arsenal unilaterally and defends its nuclear and missile programs as a deterrent against what it sees as US aggression. While Kim and his delegation are now staying at the St. Regis Hotel amid heavy security.

Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, who assisted with the lowering of tensions between North Korea and the global community by attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, is among the North Korean delegation. And so, the first indication of success will be that the two leaders don't rub each other the wrong way and that the meeting exceeds 60 seconds.

Some 2,500 journalists are reporting on the event, which is costing Singapore government about SGD 20 million.

Chairman Kim thanked Singapore's organisation of the summit as if it was "their own family affair".

For his part, Trump accused the summit host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of lying, and threatened to end trade with G-7 nations that he said use unfair practices.

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In March, Mr Trump surprised the world by accepting an invitation from Mr Kim - delivered via Seoul - to meet in person.

When asked how he feels about the summit after landing in Singapore on Sunday afternoon, US President Donald Trump said, "Very good".

In a statement obtained by CNN, Rodman says he considers Trump to be a friend and expressed his confidence in his ability to get the job done in their summit.

You can imagine the drumming of fingers in anterooms as officials wait to be told if there will be peace in our time, or whether it's all fallen apart and we're heading for the airport. The United States has nuclear weapons.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months, trading insults and threatening war before abruptly changing tack and moving towards a face-to-face meeting. "You don't know. This has not been done before at this level".

Later, they would be joined by their respective negotiating teams for discussions that could last another hour.

The other area was Sentosa Island, site of the Capella Hotel which will be the venue for the June 12 summit. She emerged as an influential figure in Pyongyang's opaque leadership in February, when she led a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

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

Even if Kim offers only "a fine-sounding rhetorical commitment, and maybe a few missile surrendered or some site closures", he said, Trump will "market this thing as something extraordinary for his voters back home".

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