Monday, 22 October, 2018

Trump celebrates 72nd birthday with big cake in Singapore

Iran ‘highly sceptical’ on US-N Korea nuclear talks Mike Pompeo draws firm line on North Korea as summit hangs in balance
Jeannette Daniel | 14 June, 2018, 04:00

The meeting will be the first time a sitting US President has met with a North Korea leader.

President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un came together for a momentous summit Tuesday that could determine historic peace or raise the specter of a growing nuclear threat.

The remarks came as North Korean and United States negotiators met in Singapore Monday for final preparations on the eve of an unprecedented summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, seeking to bridge the gaps over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal. Fighting in the Korean War ended with an armistice in July 1953.

Iran said Monday that it remains dubious about the prospects for talks between the United States and North Korea, and warned Pyongyang to be highly vigilant about Washington's promises. Trump and Kim Jong Un signed a "comprehensive" and "historic" document after their summit, but the details of that document have not yet been specified. While aboard Air Force One, the president also tweeted out a plug for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ahead of the state's Tuesday primary.

Trump had been scheduled to fly back to Washington tomorrow morning after spending today with Kim in Singapore, but on the eve of the summit, he altered his schedule, opting to return at about 8pm today after a full day of meetings with Kim - nearly 15 hours earlier than previously anticipated.

Sung Kim, a USA diplomat, appears at a hotel in Singapore for working-level talks with North Korean officials on June 11, 2018.

Commuters read news of Kim Jong-un's arrival in Singapore, at a train station in Pyongyang. On May 30, Pompeo met with North Korean spy chief Kim Yong-chol in NY; their discussion concluded two hours earlier than expected, as Kim refused to make any commitment whatsoever on denuclearization, according to the Washington Post.

The US President went for a lunch earlier today with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and even celebrated his birthday a couple of days early with a cake.

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His abrupt change of schedule will see him leave Singapore about 8pm on Tuesday (local time) after a full day of meetings with Kim, nearly 15 hours earlier than previously anticipated. The spokesman said Trump told Moon he would send Pompeo to Seoul immediately after the summit to explain its outcome.

Experts on North Korea say that the shortened meeting time leaves nearly no room to forge a path for Pyongyang's "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization", or CVID, which the US State Department was promising just last week.

The nuclear summit carries not just high stakes for the Korean Peninsula and the fate of millions, but also Trump's own political fortunes. "We are prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique, than America's been willing to provide previously".

Pompeo said "any suggestion that the United States somehow lacks the technical expertise across government, or lacks it on the ground here in Singapore, is mistaken".

Kim has sought to overhaul his image this year in a bid to ease worldwide sanctions imposed after he tested nuclear bombs and long-range ballistic missiles.

Trump and Kim will be making history here on Tuesday morning when they shake hands for the first time.

Those points were echoed in Monday's media coverage in North Korea, which stressed that the talks with Trump would focus on forging a relationship more in tune with what was described as changing times - most likely meaning the North's new status as a nuclear-armed state - and its desire for a mechanism to ensure lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and, finally, denuclearisation.

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