Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Dennis Rodman traveling to Singapore for North Korea summit

Dennis Rodman traveling to Singapore for North Korea summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has brought his running bodyguards to Singapore ahead of his highly-anticipated summit meeting with President Donald Trump.

He has also dangled the prospect of Kim Jong Un visiting Washington if the meeting goes well.

The latest indication of Beijing's influence over Pyongyang came on Sunday, when Kim arrived in Singapore for the summit not aboard the North Korea Air Force Un, as it is known - a Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-62M jet - but on an Air China Boeing 747 sometimes used to transport Chinese leaders.

"I think I'm very well-prepared", Trump told reporters on Thursday. Mr Kim is staying at Singapore's five-star St Regis hotel, while Mr Trump is staying about half a mile away at the Shangri La.

U.S. President Donald Trump departs from the G7 summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018.

"Like any middle power, Kim is aiming to be independent of any great power - both China and America - and he is already a fair way towards that goal", Mr.

Mr Kim, who is the chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, headed to the Istana on Sunday where he met Mr Lee for the first time.

On June 7, however, Trump changed his tune, saying "We could absolutely sign an agreement with North Korea".

Travelling with him were top officials including foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, defence minister No Kwang Chol and Kim Yong Chol, a close aide who has been instrumental in the diplomacy that culminated in Tuesday's summit. Summit venues and travel are also being protected by Singaporean police, Reuters reports.


He described the meeting scheduled for Tuesday in Singapore as a "one-time shot" for Kim, and Trump said he was about to undertake a "mission of peace" as he left the Group of Seven meeting with world leaders in Canada. Unlike traditional summits between heads of state, where most of the work is completed in advance of a photo-op, US officials say the only thing certain ahead of these talks will be their unpredictability.

Officials who arrived with Trump include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

The North, many experts believe, stands on the brink of being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep scepticism that Mr Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there is also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the USA and the North.

Kim's chief of staff was spotted in Beijing last week after wrapping up talks with USA officials in Singapore which had included security discussions.

"We continue to call on North Korea to completely, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles as well as its related programs and facilities", it said.

Despite the initial high stakes of a meeting 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.

Except that Trump seems to prefer the company of dictators and strongmen and wants this summit to be a success as much as Kim.

The United States and North Korea have been in a technical state of war for decades after the eruption of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which pitted U.S. -led U.N. troops backing Seoul against Pyongyang's forces that were aided by China.

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