Friday, 20 July, 2018

South Koreans hold mixed views on the Trump-Kim summit

Singapore summit: Kim's running bodyguards back in action Trump forecasts 'nice' outcome from Kim Jong-un summit
Nellie Chapman | 11 June, 2018, 18:29

The summit, the first time a sitting U.S. president meets a North Korean leader, was almost called off just two weeks before the event.

The president arrived in Asia having blown up relations with US allies - and personally with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - over trade and Russian Federation, announcing via Twitter en route to Singapore that he'd withdraw from a joint agreement covering climate change and other issues.

"It's hospitality that we would have offered them, and as Chairman Kim said yesterday, he would have liked to have come to Singapore anyway, with or without the summit", Dr. Balakrishnan told the BBC.

They will first enter a one-on-one meeting with translators only, the first meeting ever between a USA president and North Korea's leader - and Trump's first opportunity to gauge Kim's willingness to negotiate on dismantling his nuclear weapons program.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will shake hands for a photo-op unimaginable only a few months ago.

Donald Trump is promising big things can happen to the North Korean economy in return for moving away from its nuclear programme.

He has said the talks would be more about starting a relationship with Kim for a negotiating process that would take more than one summit.

Trump has said he hopes to make a legacy-defining deal for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though he has recently sought to minimize expectations, saying additional meetings may be necessary.

The US has stressed that it is seeking complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea before it starts lifting sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

Singapore summit: Kim's running bodyguards back in action

Mr Trump's first year in office was marked by bitter exchanges between himself and Mr Kim - as North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of the global community.

North Korea once enjoyed two sponsors, China and the Soviet Union.

Kim had landed in Singapore hours earlier, staying silent as he has since Trump announced he had rescheduled the once-cancelled meeting set for Tuesday morning local time (prime time Monday in the United States).

Concrete barricades have been erected outside St Regis Singapore hotel which is within the zoned security area.

The U.S. president said Saturday that he'll understand Kim's intentions "within the first minute" of meeting him and whether he's willing to give up the nuclear arsenal. It's a reflection of the intense global curiosity over Kim's sudden turn to diplomacy in recent months after a slew of North Korean nuclear and missile tests past year raised serious fears of war. "It's a one-time shot and I think it's going to work out very well".

Pompeo said the prepared to offer "unique" security guarantees to North Korea to ensure that eliminating its nuclear weapons won't end badly for Kim's regime.

North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun proclaimed Kim's arrival in Singapore on its front page, in unusually swift coverage of his worldwide visit.

The Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the Workers' Party, also featured his departure in a full-color two-page spread, declaring on the front page that he was leaving in a Chinese plane for a "historic summit" with the USA president. "They pocket all of it and lose essentially nothing", said Christopher Hill, President George W. Bush's lead nuclear negotiator with the North.

Totalitarian North Korea's governing ideology of "Juche", which champions self-sufficiency, has brought little but decades of economic stagnation, widespread poverty and, at times, starvation. In my meetings with North Korea's foreign ministry, its officials have repeatedly emphasized that only a leader-to-leader dialogue could break the nuclear impasse.