Economy

North Korea leader Kim arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump meeting

North Korea leader Kim arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump meeting

When Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday for perhaps the most significant nuclear talks since the Cold War, the American president will have his link to the USA nuclear arsenal nearby at all times. In March, Mr Trump shocked the world by accepting an invitation from Mr Kim to meet in person. He released a photograph from inside the room of North Korean vice foreign minister Choi Sun-hee smiling across the table at the U.S. lead negotiator, the Philippines ambassador Sung Kim. "This aligned him with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's position on a feasible timeline for denuclearization", Patrick McEachern, a former foreign service officer in South Korea and a North Korea analyst, told Newsweek.

President Trump expressed confidence about his meeting upon his arrival in Singapore Sunday, telling reporters after stepping down from Air Force One that he his feeling "very good" about Tuesday's summit.

But Choi and Sung have since met five times at the demilitarised zone in South Korea in a whirlwind of diplomacy to get the historic meeting on track.

Kim will be able to claim a huge propaganda bonus by sitting as an equal with the United States president, an accomplishment his father and grandfather sought but could never realise.

There's just no recent precedent for the gamble Kim Jong Un is taking.

North Korea news agency KCNA commented on Tuesday's agenda, saying talks would focus on "the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern". The US wants North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but North Korea is widely expected to resist that and it is unclear what it might ask for in return.

The issues on the table remain stubborn and complex for two countries that have been at odds for almost 70 years.

During his preparation period, Trump continued on Monday to publicly brawl on Twitter with U.S. allies over trade.

"I'm very confident the relationships between our countries, the United States and those G-7 countries, will continue to move forward on a strong basis", Pompeo said. And the maximum, I think you know the answer to that. However, he took a U-turn soon and said the White House was proceeding with the preparations for the summit.

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Trump acknowledged the difficulty of gleaning much information concerning Kim, who has scant experience on the worldwide stage and about whom foreign intelligence agencies have struggled to gather much beyond basic biographical data.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, said Sunday on CNN that Trudeau's criticism had damaged Trump's prestige before the summit - and that's why Trump reacted so strongly.

If April's Inter-Korea Summit was the crack in the dam holding the world back from Pyongyang, Tuesday's Trump-Kim meeting could potentially represent the total collapse of the dam that brings the world surging towards North Korea.

Both Mr Trump and Mr Kim arrived in Singapore on Sunday.

Kim has shown surprising diplomatic skills in his meetings with overseas leaders this year.

Sporadic provocations by the North have continued while Pyongyang has made increasing advances in its nuclear arsenal, which it says it needs to defend against the risk of a US invasion. "Obviously what has been done before hasn't worked".

Pyongyang has taken some steps to show sincerity, returning US detainees and blowing up its nuclear test site.

Trump sounded a positive note in a lunch meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.


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