Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un to open historic summit with one-on-one powwow

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un to open historic summit with one-on-one powwow

On Monday morning, North Koreans woke up to the news that Kim had arrived in Singapore for the "historic" tête-à-tête.

Kim later met Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and was seen to be smiling broadly during the encounter.

Kim's main concern is the survival of his own regime - South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters that the Pyongyang leader had "concerns on whether he could trust that the United States would end its hostile policy and guarantee the security of his regime when the North denuclearises itself".

It "would instead lay out practical steps with requisite commitments from North Korea that demonstrate that it understands, accepts and is committed to achieving denuclearisation as the United States defines it", said Enos, who is also in Singapore to watch the proceedings.

Kim recently appointed a new director of the military's powerful General Political Bureau described as a "highly trusted" lieutenant, and has established his authority over both the ruling Workers' Party and the military by ruthlessly purging potential rivals.

One benefit of Singapore from the North Korean point of view is that there will probably not be any anti-North Korea protests during Kim's stay.

Sky News video showed the impressive motorcade that that carried Kim from the airport to his overnight lodgings.

The North, many experts believe, stands on the brink of being able to target the entire USA mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep scepticism that Mr Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there is also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North.

"It's never been done before", Trump said of a U.S. 'That is for reasons of security and continuity of government'. He thanked Singapore hosting the summit as if it was "their own family affair".

South Korean media also claims there were fears that Kim's Soviet-era plane might not survive the trip.

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Kim Jong Un will undoubtedly get a sense of all that as he arrives.

A North Korean cargo plan also flew to Singapore, likely carrying supplies an equipment for the delegation.

The pair will have one-on-one talks for around two hours before being joined by their aides for further negotiations.

What if Trump calls Kim "Little Rocket Man" again?

The two leaders discussed bilateral relations as well as the summit and the recent positive developments on the Korean peninsula. In subsequent years, the US and South Korea signed a mutual defence treaty, but nothing for the North.

Olivia Enos, policy analyst with the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, said "a successful summit would move beyond mere statements about denuclearisation".

Mr Kim's summit with Mr Trump has captured intense global attention after a turn to diplomacy in recent months replaced, for the time being, serious fears of war past year amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

"We have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World", Trump tweeted from Air Force One en route to Singapore, predicting that counterpart Kim Jong Un "will work very hard to do something that has rarely been done before".

Ha Yeon Kim, who has interpreted for TIME, says that while she was translating the 2016 US presidential election campaign into Korean for Seoul television station Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), she was surprised by the often "very non-presidential" language Trump directed at Republican candidate Jeb Bush and others.

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