Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump in Singapore for historic summit

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump in Singapore for historic summit

Now he's in Singapore, ready to negotiate with U.S. President Donald Trump. "That would be rejected and Trump would walk out".

Choi's fiery outburst at Trump's national security advisor John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence had a fortnight ago been blamed for Trump suddenly, and briefly, cancelling the summit.

Trump on Sunday called the unprecedented summit, at which North Korea's nuclear arsenal will be at the top of the agenda, a "one-time shot" at peace.

"This is a leader who is really an unknown personality", Trump said. "I don't want to waste his time".

With all the attention focused on Singapore and the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang must be buzzing with excitement, right?

Trump made the remarks at a working lunch with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the presidential palace Istana after their bilateral meeting during which the two leaders discussed everything from the summit preparations to the US' tariff threats.

The two leaders have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months.

As the final preparations for the summit were being made, some veteran diplomats warned against an all-or-nothing approach from the U.S.

Boo Seung-chan, a research fellow at South Korea's Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies, told the Post both sides were likely "focusing their energy on... setting a timetable for CVID and CVIG".

Last year, the North made one of the biggest breakthroughs in its missile and nuclear weapons programs - which it says it needs to defend against the risk of a USA invasion - when it announced that it had "completed" its state nuclear program after testing a missile capable of striking most, if not all, of the continental U.S.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if we walked out and everything was settled all of a sudden from sitting down for a couple of hours?"

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If the North Korean leader does indeed agree to completely abandon his country's nuclear weapons programme, Trump is expected to ease sanctions on the hermit kingdom and pave the way for much-needed foreign direct investment in the country. "But I see over a period of time".

The North Korean leader then traveled to the St. Regis Hotel - where he will be staying for the duration of the visit - in his armored limousine, which arrived on a separate flight.

The US president had told reporters in Canada that he "felt confident" about Tuesday's talks with Kim. He surprised them again a couple of weeks ago when he called it off, leaving the region anxious about unsafe consequences. In a sign of lingering tensions, the North Koreans have been closely scrutinizing all American staffers who are slated to be in any U.S. But they share a similar hands-on approach, with decisions based on their own personal views -sometimes even their whims.

The Monday report from the Korean Central News Agency mentioned the summit agenda, including denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

While en route to Singapore, Trump said he looked forward to meeting Kim on what he anticipated would be an exciting day. But how far he hopes to get in the upcoming talks is not clear.

Paul Haenle worries there's a preparation gap that has left Trump - and the US - at a disadvantage.

UN Security Council Resolution 2270 forbids loaning aircraft, ships and crew to North Korea, but Beijing apparently had USA approval. He's now the director of the Carnegie Tsinghua Center, a thinktank in Beijing.

The previous United States stance, said Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation, was that "we don't deploy a president to negotiate a treaty, we deploy a president to sign a treaty where we know where every piece of punctuation is on that piece of paper".

It's not just the logistics of Kim's trip that are unclear.

Two big enigmas, with their fingers on nuclear buttons.

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