June 18, 2018

Trump and Kim lookalikes hold ´summit´ in Singapore

10 June 2018, 06:27 | Melvin Schneider

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the issue of abductees with the US President during their summit. AP

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the issue of abductees with the US President during their summit

President Donald Trump struck an optimistic tone Saturday as he left the G7 summit early for his high stakes summit with Kim Jong Un, telling reporters that his North Korean counterpart has an opportunity for "lasting peace" when they meet in Singapore next week.

Trump and Kim are due to meet in Singapore on Tuesday.

Speaking before his departure from the G7 summit in Canada, Mr Trump said: "I feel that Kim Jong-un wants to do something great for his people".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has only said he's willing to discuss the idea, but hasn't made any firm promises to do so.

Trump hopes to persuade Kim to completely abandon the arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that the North Koreans have spent generations amassing.

"It's about attitude", Trump said of the summit before meeting Thursday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"But It depends on what they're talking about it and it depends on their willingness to take time and work around the periphery and ultimately to get to the really hard cards in the pack; human rights and nuclear weapons". That was followed by a surprise and rapid diplomatic thaw that survived Trump's abrupt cancellation of the summit late last month. We have to get something going.

Although the Trump administration has said that America's 28,500 troops in South Korea aren't bargaining chips in Singapore, there are persistent concerns - fueled by Trump's own comments - that he may waver.

"I'd like to accomplish more than that", Trump said.

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South Korea and China, rattled by the ratcheting tensions, signed on to tougher and more restrictive USA -led sanctions.

As he has in recent days, however, the president again acknowledged that the summit is unlikely to achieve a major breakthrough, stating that at minimum he would like to "start a dialogue" with Kim.

Chua first visited North Korea as a tourist in 2008 and was led around the capital city Pyongyang on a closely monitored group tour.

The young leader has been swept to centre stage by two new props: his unprecedented nuclear capability and an unconventional USA president. I think they are starting to be committed to a much more fair trade situation for the United States, because it has been treated very, very unfairly....

The one thing it is impossible for North Koreans to understand, however, is how big the difference in prosperity is between their country and developed nations like the US and South Korea. "We're going in with a very positive attitude and I think we're going to come out fine", he added. He escaped North Korea at 19 years old.

Complete North Korean denuclearization will likely take much more than a single summit, but Trump may see a peace deal as a quick, fairly painless path to a Nobel Peace Prize.

Singapore has insisted that it did not go looking to host the event - Balakrishnan said his government was approached first by Washington, and later Pyongyang.

Beijing wants the summit, says Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Centre, relieved for any de-escalation in tension.

Trump cited the unprecedented nature of the meeting and said he was convinced that Kim is serious about doing good things for his country.

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