Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump thanks Singaporean leader for hosting summit with Kim

Trump thanks Singaporean leader for hosting summit with Kim

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.

But in return, Washington would offer "different and unique" guarantees "to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them".

James Clapper, the former USA director of national intelligence, acknowledged in The New York Times that asking North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons as a precondition for better relations with the United States - the longstanding policy of several U.S. administrations - is a "dead end".

While President Donald Trump met Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, negotiators from Pyongyang and Washington made final preparations on the eve of the unprecedented summit between Kim Jong-un and the U.S. president.

Administration officials told the network that the USA has decided against raising North Korea's human rights issues at the meeting with Kim Jong Un.

"I just think it's going to work out very nicely", said Trump at a working lunch with the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong.

Similar scenes were seen on Sunday when Kim and Trump arrived in the city, and when Kim went to meet Lee.

Mr Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Obama administration had reached with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation.

The North Korean autocrat's every move will be followed by 3,000 journalists who have converged on Singapore, and by gawkers around the world, up until he shakes hands with Mr Trump on Tuesday.

Kim Jong-un has taken his portable toilet to Singapore to "deny determined sewer divers insights into the supreme leader's stools", a South Korean news outlet has reported.

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The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days for foreign policy for Trump, who shocked USA allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of 7 industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America's closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, he lobbed insults at the G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "We expect a fierce tug-of-war to continue between the two sides until tomorrow's summit ends, but we also expect some good outcome".

North Korea will probably agree to some non-binding reference to the aspiration of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, as happened with the 27 April North Korea-South Korea summit joint statement. It heralded the summit as part of a "changed era".

Such treats are unheard of for most North Koreans, even for government officials, who have seen their chances of overseas travel wither in recent years as their country's isolation has increased under sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the country welcomes any attempt to restore peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula but at the same time is not optimistic that US President Donald Trump would remain committed to his pledges.

"Denuclearization means CVID for the United States, but from the viewpoint of North Korea, denuclearization means the denuclearization of the entire peninsula", said Masahiro Kohara, professor at the University of Tokyo.

What has North Korea said?

A United States official said on Monday that Mr Trump and Mr Kim will first meet one on one with translators in a session that could last up to two hours before they open the meeting to their respective advisers.

After that secretive summit, John Bolton angered North Korea when he compared the country's path to denuclearization to Libya's, leading experts to believe Trump's hawkish national security adviser was trying to sabotage the talks.

For North Korea the greatest threat to its existence is a hostile United States.

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