Trump Kim summit: North Korean leader arrives in Singapore

Hugh Fox
June 10, 2018

"You know, in the way they say you know you're going to like somebody, like in the first five seconds? I think I'll also know whether it will happen fast".

On May 10, Trump announced he would hold a summit with Kim in Singapore and has since indicated he would try to reach an agreement to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

"However, I never rioted and don't plan to ever riot".

As he has in recent days, however, the president sought to tamp down expectations, after once having pledged to demand that Kim rapidly turn over his nuclear arsenal.

"The minimum would be a relationship - you'd start at least a dialogue", Trump added, when asked about outcomes.

"Within the first minute I'll know", he said. "Hopefully we will have liked each other".

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There was heightened security at the St Regis hotel in central Singapore, one of the hotels where the leaders were expected to stay.

Television news crews filmed the workers from the sidewalk, and curious local residents stopped to take photographs. Ambiguity about exactly what "denuclearization" must look like has left some wringing their hands, while others fear he may yield on a longtime North Korean wish that the USA withdraw some or all of its military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

The US President is due to touch down in Singapore on Air Force One on Sunday evening, and meet Prime Minister Lee on Monday, ahead of Tuesday morning's summit.

Singapore has boosted already-tight security ahead of the Trump-Kim summit, particularly at Sentosa Island where the meetings are to be held as well as the central region where its foreign ministry, the USA embassy and global hotels are located.

Singapore's The Straits Times reported earlier this month that the Singapore government declared that four black BMW sedans with armored bodies that can withstand gunshots, explosives and grenades were exempt from certain traffic rules through June 30.

Trump administration officials need to consider carefully exactly what the president could offer Kim in Singapore.

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He said the North Korean leader could do "something very positive for his people, for himself, his family", but acknowledged that they are both in "unknown territory in the truest sense".

"He could take that nation with those great people and truly make it great".

He found signs of anti-American sentiment everywhere - from menacing billboards showing missiles raining down on Washington, to militarized cartoon characters on the walls at daycare centres - all depicting the North Korea's mortal enemy.

"You don't know. This has not been done before at this level".

United States policy since the Obama Administration was that Washington would not negotiate with North Korea unless the Pyongyang government agreed beforehand the topic would be denuclearisation. After several meetings with top North Korean leaders including Kim, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the talks were "moving in the right direction" and that it "would be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste" - diplomatic speak for "We're a long way from a deal, and unsure if it will happen". Trump noted that he would know "within a minute" whether Kim was serious about giving up weapons.

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