US President Donald Trump will hold a meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday
14 June, 2018, 04:30
US President Donald Trump says his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore could "work out very nicely" as officials from both countries met to narrow differences on how to end a nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula. Then aides to each were to come in for more discussions and a working lunch.
Well, maybe, if anyone here knew it was happening. Kim thanked Singapore for organising the summit as if it was "their own family affair".
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that Washington remained committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked US allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America's closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Instead of the Pyongyang-Shanghai- Singapore route that takes six-and-a-half hours but passes over sea routes that are more hard to protect, he flew via Beijing, which took around 10 hours.
The meeting was Trump's only scheduled public event as White House officials prepared for the critical meeting on Tuesday with Kim.
The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on his way back to Washington. Trump is expected to meet Lee on Monday.
Mr Trump, in his presidential state vehicle nicknamed The Beast, left the Shangri-La Hotel with his delegation at about 11.45am for the working lunch.
By prominently showing the Air China jet that flew Kim to Singapore, the reports also made no secret of China's important role behind the scenes.
The motorcade carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leaves the Istana, or Presidential Palace, in Singapore on Sunday on June 10, 2018, after his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.
Another possibility from the summit is a deal to end the Korean War, which North Korea has long demanded, presumably, in part, to get U.S. troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake.
The North Korean leader held a meeting with the Singapore prime minister on Sunday.
USA and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.
Still, even as he turned his attention to the summit, Trump continued his blistering attacks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday, saying "Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal".
Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.
Trump and Kim are set to meet on Tuesday at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa for talks which could see North Korea dismantle its nuclear arsenal in return for economic help and security guarantees.
Most observers predicted that the outcome would be a short and vague statement build around the ambiguous aim of the "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" leaving it to later bilateral meetings to negotiate what that would mean in practice. That is, Pyongyang will "launch a lengthy, complicated negotiation to get agreement on actions each party must take, and use this process to buy time for the development of the North's nuclear weapons program".
UN Security Council Resolution 2270 forbids loaning aircraft, ships and crew to North Korea, but Beijing apparently had USA approval.
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