Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

South Koreans hold mixed views on the Trump-Kim summit

Trump-Kim summit could be one of many Modal Trigger Getty Images
Jeannette Daniel | 11 June, 2018, 23:44

According to United States think tank Stimson Centre's North Korea Leadership Watch website, she has served as an aide and interpreter at key nuclear negotiations in the past, and other high-level DPRK foreign interactions, including an August 2009 trip to Pyongyang by former USA president Bill Clinton.

Both sides also worked to finalize preparations for the unprecedented summit.

Kim Yong-chol is the most senior North Korean official to travel to the United States in almost 20 years and is considered Kim Jong-un's right-hand man.

Mr Kim was sent off in a ceremony at the Pyongyang airport joined by a group of senior officials, such as Mr Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state, Mr Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the North's State Affairs Commission, and Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju.

North Korea maintains an atrocious human rights record that is inextricably linked to its weapons proliferation.

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

North Korea said Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump will discuss "denuclearization" and "durable peace" on the Korean peninsula during their upcoming summit. Yet even before they met, Trump announced plans to leave early, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

Just hours before what could be the most important meeting of his life, a seemingly relaxed and confident Kim Jong Un took a night on the town in Singapore, taking selfies and being greeted by cheering onlookers.

Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's sister is also in Singapore. Preliminary negotiations between two Koreas started, followed by the first - largely successful - meeting between North and South Korean leaders since 2007.

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

The foreign minister of Singapore tweeted out a picture of the cake presented to Trump at the luncheon today in Singapore. Shortly after arriving, Kim visited with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is scheduled to meet with Trump on Monday.

Trump aides long ago gave up trying to focus the easily distracted president on one thing at a time, as he tweets at random about the NFL, Russia, Democrats and a raft of other grievances.

Famed North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee informed the nation that Kim had landed, declaring that the summit was a "historical first" that is "garnering the attention and hopes of the entire world".

Kim remained ensconced in the heavily guarded St Regis Hotel, where he is staying. It heralded the summit as part of a "changed era".

"That is an extraordinary offer of flexibility, considering (North Korea) poses a direct security threat to the United States", according to Saeed.

Trump and Kim are expected to sit down together in Singapore at 9 a.m. Tuesday - which is 9 p.m. Monday New York time.

Few people expect Kim to commit to what some Trump administration officials call "CVID:" Complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons programs - certainly not at this meeting, and perhaps not ever.

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