June 21, 2018

'One-time shot' for peace with North Korea

11 June 2018, 08:34 | Taylor George

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

Flight from Pyongyang lands in Singapore ahead of North Korean leader’s arrival

While access to the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be tightly restricted, hundreds of Singaporeans got the next best thing on Saturday when two lookalikes showed up at a downtown mall.

With a handshake scheduled for 9 a.m., Trump and Kim and their translators will meet first in a session that could stretch up to two hours before they allow their respective advisers to join them, said the US official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations and insisted on anonymity.

"I'm glad to say that as of now, it's all systems go", he said.

Mr Trump flew into Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base aboard Air Force One, arriving just hours after Mr Kim.

"I think it's important at this point in time, when North Korea has advanced its program so dramatically in terms of ability and nuclear power and its ballistic missile program, to define the deal as the complete, irreversible, and verifiable denuclearization of the peninsula. I'll give whatever support is needed to my friends, President Trump and Marshall Kim Jong Un", he wrote.

Officials remain uncertain what will come out of Tuesday's unprecedented summit, the first of its kind between a sitting USA president and the leader of North Korea.

"People call it a historic summit but... it is important to understand that this summit was available to any U.S. president who wanted to do it and the point is no USA president wanted to do this, and for good reasons", said Christopher Hill, a former lead United States nuclear negotiator with North Korea.

"He could take that nation with those great people and truly make it great", Trump said. "I feel they were trying to intimidate me, but if I got deported it would have been big news".

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"So far so good", Trump said. "So we are going in with a really positive spirit". "They're no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean", he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's flight to Singapore was a tightly planned maneuver using a decoy to throw attackers off the scent. Saying he has a "clear objective in mind" to convince Kim to abandon his nuclear program in exchange for unspecified "protections" from the U.S., Trump acknowledged that the direction of the high-stakes meeting is unpredictable, adding it "will always be spur of the moment". This has not been done before at this level.

Kim had arrived on an Air China flight after dispatching two decoy flights as a diversionary tactic given the leader's fears of assassination during the summit.

"I think within the first minute I'll know", Trump said.

Assuming the meeting continues, Trump will then be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

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 US and the North.

Rodman has traveled to North Korea in the past and seems to have struck up an unlikely friendship with the North Korean leader. "It's North Korea", said one western tourist with a shrug.

During the media interview, Mr Lee said that Singapore had committed a lot of resources to the summit's logistics and security because of the profile of the meeting and the nature of what is being discussed.

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