Donald Trump 'optimistic' ahead of one-on-one talks with Kim Jong

  • Donald Trump 'optimistic' ahead of one-on-one talks with Kim Jong

Donald Trump 'optimistic' ahead of one-on-one talks with Kim Jong

Global anticipation of the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's third-generation autocrat Kim Jong Un is close to feverish. "If diplomacy does not move in the right direction, those measures will increase", he said. But there's reason to suspect that it is because they are barely moving at all.

Even hours before the unprecedented meeting, it was unclear if it would produce a breakthrough or collapse in acrimony.

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.

White House officials said Monday they are optimistic a shift in U.S. But North Korea's statements have made it clear that Kim Jong-un is ready to shift focus from nuclear weapons to the economy.

It was a far cry from a year ago when Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" and mocked Kim as "little rocket man", and Kim denounced the United States president as the "mentally deranged U.S. dotard". Crowds looked on as images aired of Kim disembarking from the Air China flight and shaking hands with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

Even so, the summit continues to be a sensitive topic in North Korea and it is hard - even more so than usual - to get people to express opinions about it.

Special Operations Command (SOC) police officers patrol Orchard Road on June 10 ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.

North Korea, however, has shown little appetite for surrendering nuclear weapons it considers vital to the survival of Kim's dynastic rule.

This may include the scaling back of US-South Korean joint military exercises, a written promise not to strike North Korea first and a commitment not to deploy nuclear-capable bombers and submarines around the Korean peninsula.

The US and North Korea may be on the verge of a diplomatic breakthrough, but among the many other difficulties in the way of improved relations is how to undo decades of propaganda that has taught North Koreans that Americans are their natural enemy and a constant threat.

In return, he said, "We will take actions to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them", Pompeo said.

Pompeo's remarks suggest that the USA is looking for a short transition toward denuclearisation, according to Zhang Baohui, director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim came together for a summit that seemed unthinkable months ago, clasping hands in front of a row of alternating US and North Korean flags, holding a one-on-one meeting, additional talks with advisers and a working lunch.

North Korea has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with a reliable security assurance and other benefits.

Of those two buckets, trade and North Korea, there is no doubt North Korea is a more complex problem -- touching on non-proliferation, the balance of power in East Asia and America's treaty alliances.

But Pyongyang is demanding as yet unspecified security guarantees and the end of what it calls a "hostile policy" towards it, and has not made clear what concessions it is offering over the nuclear arsenal it calls its "treasured sword" to defend against a United States invasion.

The North Korean news agency KCNA said the meeting signalled "a changed era" in bilateral ties with Washington.