Trump, Kim arrive in Singapore ahead of high-stakes summit
11 June, 2018, 05:29
Kim Jong UnmetSingapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shortly after his arrival, driving from the St. Regis Hotel where he is staying, through the famous Orchard Road shopping district, which was closed off for his tightly guarded motorcade.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday's meeting appeared aimed at making 11th-hour progress ahead of the summit since Sung Kim's earlier talks did little to narrow a gap between the two sides on the definition of denuclearisation or win agreement on tangible commitments from Pyongyang toward dismantling its nuclear arsenal.
Over 2,500 journalists are covering the summit, the first between a sitting United States President and a North Korean leader.
"If that's the case, Beijing will have a role to play on how to implement the deals", said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of worldwide relations at Renmin University in Beijing.
The one thing it is impossible for North Koreans to understand, however, is how big the difference in prosperity is between their country and developed nations like the USA and South Korea.
In any case, raising the topic of North Korea's human rights abuses will be necessary as a practical matter.
Trump, along with leaders like South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, have credited the pressure campaign with bringing Kim to the negotiating table through a combination of global sanctions, political isolation, and threats of military action.
According to the reports, Singapore is only the third country North Korean leader Kim has visited since he became the nation's leader in 2011.
The president also said no issue concerning both countries is off limits come Tuesday.
South Koreans have been split between hope and doubt after seeing the seesaw developments leading up to the summit.
May 25: North Korea attempts damage control, saying it is still willing to hold talks with the United States "at any time, (in) any format". Some even speculate that Trump and Kim may discuss a peace treaty formally ending the 1950-1953 Korean War, replacing the current armistice.
North Korea spent decades developing nuclear weapons, culminating in the test of a thermonuclear device in 2017.
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 meeting.
Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Trump said: "Very good". He said a successful summit would create more room for the two Korean leaders to move forward on inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation. Reducing the threat of conflict is the initial goal, which could be followed by cultural, humanitarian and economic steps.
Officers combed the city on Sunday, from the old colonial section to the modern skyscrapers to the hotel on nearby Sentosa island where Trump and Kim will actually meet. 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.
Across Southeast Asia, many countries took steps to curtail or completely end most major trade with Pyongyang a year ago, but in some cases state-owned North Korean restaurants have continued to operate, potentially supplying Pyongyang with a trickle of cash.
In Washington, Democrats and some Republicans were upset at the outcome.
The US president has said he hasn't prepped much for these talks. Beijing also backs the North's call for a "phased and synchronous" approach to denuclearization, as opposed to Washington's demand for an instant, total and irreversible end to the North's nuclear programs.
As the nuclear issue takes center stage in Singapore, whether the president will attempt to convince or compel Kim to curb his regime's cruel treatment of its own citizens remains an open question.
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