Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Singapore spin cycle: Trump, Kim prepare for nuclear summit

Trump-Kim summit could be one of many Modal Trigger Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 11 June, 2018, 23:47

Trump, who is offering to reduce economic sanctions on North Korea in exchange for denuclearisation, also seemed to warn Kim that the summit is a "one-time opportunity" that should not be wasted. That's why direct talks with North Korea never happened, he said. "Beijing would welcome the further relaxation of sanctions and North Korea's diplomatic isolation", the report says.

Trump said last week that Rodman was not invited to the summit.

As he disembarked from Air Force One, Trump told reporters that he feels "very good" about his prospects. It's where former Chinese President Hu Jin Tao stayed during the 2009 APEC Summit (and don't tell Trump, but Hillary Clinton stayed there in 2011, too). That sibling, Kim Jong Nam, often stayed at the St. Regis when he visited Singapore.

Kim's full delegation has not yet been confirmed, but other prominent North Korean officials seen in photos included foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and Kim Chang Son - the man who has been in Singapore in recent weeks negotiating logistical details for the summit.

Some people were grumbling in the wealthy city-state because of traffic jams caused by the summit and the cost of hosting two leaders with massive security needs.

News' @KellyO says it's unclear what role Rodman will play in the talks.

His New Year speech - the one that kick-started this diplomatic process - was all about North Korea's strategy of building the economy having achieved the goal of becoming a nuclear power.

Lee said the cost was worthwhile.

The nuclear summit carries not just high stakes for the Korean Peninsula and the fate of millions, but also Trump's own political fortunes. Traffic was held up in the steamy midday sun and scores of bystanders were penned in by police when Trump went to meet Lee. Trump traveled to Singapore from Canada, where he attended a meeting with other world leaders. Their hotels are cordoned off with heavy security. The article titled 'Trump and Kim - The meeting the world's been waiting for' also noted one subject that went untouched by other media houses - "What will nearly certainly NOT be talked about is North Korea's human rights record". It heralded the summit as part of a "changed era".

Their meeting at a luxury hotel in Singapore, scheduled for 9 a.m. local time - which is 9 p.m. on Monday night NY time - will mark the first face-to-face encounter between a USA president and a leader of North Korea.

Experts on North Korea say that the shortened meeting time leaves nearly no room to forge a path for Pyongyang's "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization", or CVID, which the US State Department was promising just last week.

It's a dramatic departure for Trump, who kicked off 2018 bragging that his nuclear button is "much bigger" than Kim's.

But readiness to talk doesn't mean you should expect to get a final deal in Singapore.

Singapore knows how to handle events like this, however historic they may be. Trump initially touted the potential for a grand bargain with North Korea to rid itself of a nuclear missile programme that has advanced rapidly to threaten the United States.

"We're prepared to take actions that will provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearization isn't something that ends badly for them", he said.