Trump leaves hotel in Singapore for historic summit with DPRK leader

  • Trump leaves hotel in Singapore for historic summit with DPRK leader

Trump leaves hotel in Singapore for historic summit with DPRK leader

To normalize North Korea - a country known and caricatured for its presumed strangeness - Kim needs to be seen as a respectable statesman.

In a tweet early on Tuesday, just hours before the summit, Trump said staff-level meetings between the countries were "going well and quickly. but in the end, that doesn't matter".

He said secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis should have opposed the one-on-one meeting "in writing" - and called for the national security council to have a transcript of all interactions with the "brutal, nuclear armed dictator".

After he took office in January 2017, Trump took a hard line against North Korea, rolling out a campaign of severe United Nations sanctions and trade blockades dubbed "maximum pressure" to get Pyongyang to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) confirmed his nighttime tour of Singapore, a rare quick disclosure of the leader's detailed itinerary and schedules during his overseas trip. He said if the going to offer North Korea the security guarantees it seeks in return for denuclearization, it "also means you're not going to interfere in domestic happenings, domestic politics" - like human rights.

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The agreement quickly broke down when the U.S. froze assets belonging to Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, which was suspected of laundering millions of dollars for the North Korean regime.

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

A sit-down with the USA president is something North Korea has long pushed for.

Since the armistice, North Korea has been ruled under a dictatorship using "Juche", or self-reliant, ideology. Recently, Kim Jong Un sent him to the United States to hand-deliver a letter to Trump, making him North Korea's most senior official to visit its wartime foe in 18 years.

Before now, TV stations and newspapers in Pyongyang have only put out their first reports after events have finished - but by North Korea's standards, the announcement that Mr Kim was in Singapore came much earlier than usual.

The rapid improvement in relations between the North and South Korea - technically still at war - culminated with a historic leaders' summit in April.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived at Singapore's Sentosa Island, where he'll be meeting shortly face-to-face with President Donald Trump.

For Trump, Singapore represents a golden opportunity to overshadow the negative headlines he generated from a contentious G-7 summit.

It was a far cry from previous year when Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" and mocked Kim as "little rocket man", and Kim denounced the US president as the "mentally deranged USA dotard". She said that past administrations "just talked about it".

"A lot of the tone for this week will be set out in Trump's meeting with Kim".

The two leaders reached their destination by around 8:30 a.m., local time.

On the way forward, Pompeo said, "I don't know exactly what the timing will be for our next conversation with the North Koreans".

The talks will focus on North Korea's controversial nuclear programme.

Experts are sceptical. At best, the meeting will likely provide a road map for future talks, each round of which will require hard and complex negotiations.

North and South Korea remain technically at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice that Seoul's then leader refused to sign and divided the peninsula along the Demilitarised Zone.

Kim says through an interpreter that it "was not easy to get here" and that there "were obstacles but we overcame them to be here".