Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Trump, Kim arrive in Singapore ahead of high-stakes summit

Trump, Kim arrive in Singapore ahead of high-stakes summit

After fiery rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. last year, Kim declared in his New Year's address that the country's weapons program was complete. "As a Singaporean, I am proud that Singapore can be seen as a neutral party and a hub for the event", she added.

"On the North Korean side, a meeting with a sitting USA president is in itself a victory for Kim Jong-un, as previous US administrations have always held back this diplomatic concession".

THE stage is set for the summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that could lay the groundwork for ending a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and the transformation of the isolated Asian nation. In a New Year's address Kim stated the country's weapons development was complete in the wake of the most powerful nuclear detonation, in September 2017, and missile tests that could theoretically hit the United States mainland.

Last year it carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland, sending tensions soaring to a level unseen in years as a newly-elected Trump traded threats of war and colorful personal insults with Kim, with Trump dubbed a "dotard" and Kim "Little Rocket Man".

The arrival of the Air China Airbus 330 flight at Changi airport raised speculation that a delegation of North Korean officials joined an advance team headed by Kim's close aide, Kim Chang Son, who was in Singapore to prepare for the talks.

"It started out as a good summit because we were actually talking to each other, instead of past each other", said Peter Beyer, the German government's coordinator on trans-Atlantic relations.

But the plan soon fell apart following the narrow election victory of George W. Bush, who hardened his line against North Korea with the help of Republican conservatives, he wrote. It also annoyed Singapore residents by offering to pay Kim's hotel bill.

However, Trump and his aides insist that a USA -led "maximum pressure" campaign of the toughest-ever economic sanctions, diplomatic action and military threats is what has drawn Kim to the negotiating table.

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Chinese tourists look at a map detailing the route of a boat tour on the Yalu River, which separates North Korea and China, at a ticket office in Dandong, Liaoning province, China June 7, 2018.

Trump, who is staying in a separate hotel, the Shangri-La, is due to meet Lee on Monday. He tweets: "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" "So at the moment, the wisest approach for China is to just leave North Korea and the U.S. to it".

Singapore is seen as neutral ground for the summit - the first ever between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.

Many remain sceptical Kim will ever completely abandon his nuclear programmes. Moon held talks with Kim in April at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two sides, getting Kim's initial offer of a summit with Kim.

At least three people have been turned away from Singapore borders due to summit, says Shanmugam.

May 24: A senior North Korean diplomat calls US Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy" for his comments on the North and says it is up to the Americans whether they "meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at (a) nuclear-to-nuclear showdown".

North Korea dismantles its nuclear testing ground in front of foreign journalists, but Mr Trump announces hours later that he is pulling out of the summit, citing the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility". Technically, the United States and North Korea remain in a state of war. "This is how people are supposed to get along", said Mr Howard. Mr Moon says Mr Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearise their peninsula but also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to provide a credible security guarantee in return.

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