Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

North Korean, US Officials Air Differences On Eve Of Summit

North Korean, US Officials Air Differences On Eve Of Summit

The North Korean leader reportedly arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore Sunday afternoon, where he was met by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan. And so, the first indication of success will be that the two leaders don't rub each other the wrong way and that the meeting exceeds 60 seconds.

North Koreans were told two weeks ago that a summit between Kim and Trump would take place, but not when or where it would happen.

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. "Prime Minister Lee and Chairman Kim discussed Singapore-DPRK relations, developments in the DPRK and regional developments, including the recent positive developments on the Korean Peninsula", the statement reads. "We were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit, and I would like to thank you for that", Kim, speaking through an interpreter, told Lee.

Some foreign-policy experts said the breakdown at the Group of 7 meeting would play to North Korea's advantage, since Mr. Trump can ill afford a second failed summit, back to back. And even if North Korea agrees to dismantle all of its nuclear weapons, what's to say it won't make more now that it has the formula?

The standard thinking goes that he needs quick help to stabilize and then rebuild an economy that has suffered amid a decades-long pursuit of nuclear bombs, and that the North Koreans see a unique chance to win concessions, legitimacy and protection from a meeting with a highly unconventional US president who's willing to consider options past American leaders would not.

Bringing the Korean War to a formal end 65 years after hostilities ceased will also be on the table at the first-ever summit between a North Korean leader and a sitting USA president of its "imperialist enemy".

White House director of social media Dan Scavino later tweeted some more pictures from the event, which was held at the Shangri-La Hotel and not at the embassy itself.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that veteran diplomat Sung Kim is leading the USA delegation in a working group meeting Monday at the city-state's Ritz Carlton hotel.

Trump has returned to his hotel after meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee.

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".

It's Kim's pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Trump such high stakes.

At their summit in April Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to seek a peace treaty and Trump mused earlier this month: "Can you believe we're talking about the ending of the Korean War?" However, the South Carolina Republican noted that he is "not here to spread democracy" or to unite the North with South Korea.

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

Pyongyang has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits.

The tests culminated in November's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea said could reach the entirety of the United States. Getting Pyongyang to swear off its nuclear ambitions is certainly a central prerequisite and condition of North Korea's impending return to the world order, never mind the summit.

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