Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Trump finds time to tweet before meeting with Kim Jong Un

Singapore pays for Kim Jong Un’s hotel during Trump summit Modal Trigger Kim Jong Un Getty Images
Russell Knight | 12 June, 2018, 05:10

Just six months after trading threats about their respective "nuclear buttons", President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set to meet in Singapore on Tuesday morning (Monday night in the US, which is 12 hours behind). India, Pakistan and North Korea are not CTBT signatories.

In the lead up to the summit, North Korea rejected any unilateral nuclear disarmament, and KCNA's reference to denuclearisation of the peninsula has historically meant that Pyongyang wants the United States to remove its "nuclear umbrella" protecting South Korea and Japan.

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing US troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was "radically different than ever before".

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening "fire and fury" against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a "mentally deranged USA dotard".

Kim smiled broadly Sunday evening as he met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He also shared a photo of himself and Trump and told the entire world that he's "honored" to call the president a friend.

Trump and Kim will meet at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday (9:00 p.m. ET on Monday).

In part, these lowered expectations are a reflection of the extreme skepticism among many that the North can be persuaded to give up a nuclear programme it has stubbornly built over the decades, often in secrecy and despite intense sanctions, worldwide condemnation and widespread suffering among its people.

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MORE: What's up for negotiation at the North Korea summit? Trump has said he hopes to make a legacy-defining deal for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though he has recently sought to manage expectations, saying more than one meeting may be necessary. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the US out of the group's traditional closing statement.

There was no word on how Trump was spending the night before the summit.

"These discussions that will take place tomorrow between Chairman Kim and President Trump will set the framework for the hard work that will follow".

Following an on-camera greeting, the pair will begin the summit with a one-on-one meeting with only their translators, according to a senior Trump administration official. On Sunday, Trump said he'd know "within the first minute" whether Kim will agree to denuclearization.

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

The discussions between the United States and North Korea are ongoing and have moved more quickly than expected.

Singapore's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan tweeted a selfie with Kim on the surprise walkabout late Monday. It heralded the summit as part of a "changed era".

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