Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Final preparations underway ahead of landmark Trump-Kim summit

Final preparations underway ahead of landmark Trump-Kim summit

Kim said he wanted to express his gratitude to President Trump for making the meeting happen.

Trump and Kim chatted amiably out of earshot as they walked into the building for the private meeting that preceded a full bilateral conference that included aides and advisers.

Members of the USA delegation, including U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo, right, and John Bolton, national security adviser, left, and North Korean advisers watch a television screen showing the meeting. Seoul lives under constant threat of an attack by North Korea, and the country's leadership has been adamantly promoting diplomatic talks in order to avoid a full-blown conflict, especially as Pyongyang appeared closer to developing a nuclear weapon that could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea's reluctance to open its doors to outsiders.

USA officials and the North Korean state news agency struck a hopeful tone as the meeting approached, while negotiators from both countries met privately in the last hours to iron out agreements, such as over the definition of denuclearisation and the terms under which Pyongyang might agree to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

It's unclear what Trump and Kim might decide Tuesday.

Each plans to leave Singapore hours after their meetings wrap up, though Trump plans to speak to reporters about the developments.

Trump and Kim arrived not long ago on Singapore's Sentosa Island, the site of their unprecedented summit.

But on the eve of the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore by Tuesday evening, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.


During another photo-op before the two leaders began a working lunch, no independent journalists were allowed into the pool.

The White House has not said whether the president will raise issue with North Korea's dismal human rights record, but the president took time in the hours before his meeting to take a swipe at critics of the sit-down. The handshake was firm but passed without Trump's customary antics as the two portly leaders smiled and looked each other in the eye for about 12 seconds.

Talks proceeded at multiple levels, including logistical discussions to allay Kim's fears of being deposed while traveling further afield than he ever has before as the country's leader. During his stroll, crowds yelled out Kim's name and jostled to take pictures, and the North Korean leader posed for a selfie with Singapore officials.

"North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearize, and we are eager to see if those words prove honest", Pompeo said.

It's not clear what the United States side has been able to extract from the North Koreans in terms of their willingness to get rid of their nuclear weapons or allow inspectors into the country to catalogue the scale of their program.

At a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, South Korean viewers were reportedly surprised by Kim's Swiss-inflected accent.

In the meeting room, the leaders sat side-by-side.

He earlier said the event should set the framework for "the hard work that will follow", insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

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