Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Kim takes night tour of Singapore ahead of summit with Trump

Mike Pompeo draws firm line on North Korea as summit hangs in balance Trump-Kim summit: US president will leave early as talks 'moving rapidly'
Kenny Thornton | 14 June, 2018, 05:27

"When I woke up this morning I saw the news in the newspaper that our respected Marshal went to Singapore for the North Korea-U.S. summit", said Han Il Gwang, a Pyongyang resident, displaying typical discretion when speaking to an Associated Press Television crew.

The U.S. president is set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.

Earlier, officials from the two sides held last-minute talks aimed at laying the groundwork for the summit between Trump and Kim, a meeting nearly unthinkable just months ago when the two were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war.

Trump and Kim will hold a historic summit at Capella Hotel in Singapore at 9 a.m. local time Tuesday (0100 GMT). "Kim must not see American weakness".

There were screams of "Kim!"

This is the furthest a reigning North Korean President has ever travelled from Pyongyang in the country's history, and it appears Mr Kim used the opportunity to take in some of the sights.

Kim Jong-un and Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) take selfies on the Jubilee bridge.

The meeting was initially meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, but the talks have been portrayed by Mr Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session.

Even as he drew a tough line on lifting sanctions, Pompeo sought to ease North Korea's wariness about giving up a nuclear arsenal that provides a deterrent against foreign adversaries while also serving as a key point of national pride. "If diplomacy does not move in the right direction. those measures will increase".

A United States official said on Monday that Mr Trump and Mr Kim would 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.

Kim's sister and close aide Kim Yo Jong is also in Singapore, and is believed to have traveled separately on the ageing Soviet-made Ilyushin-62 that is the leader's personal aircraft.

Trump says "we've got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely".

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Kim then stopped at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which resembles a giant surfboard perched on three tall columns, for a look out over the bright city lights from its rooftop garden and infinity swimming pool.

"There are only two people that can make decisions of this magnitude".

"It's our contribution to an worldwide endeavor which is in our profound interest", Lee told reporters Sunday at the global media center the city-state set up to accommodate the more than 2,500 journalists covering the event.

"Thanks PM Lee for spending $20 million of taxpayers money, which can. help a lot of needy families in Singapore to survive", posted one Facebook user.

Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday after a blow-up over trade with other members of the Group of Seven major industrialised nations in Canada.

Lee said that about half the cost is going to security.

"It is our contribution to an worldwide endeavour which is in our profound interest", he told reporters.

US President Donald Trump flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attend a lunch with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and officials at the Istana in Singapore on Monday.

Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore Sunday, at different airports.

But it is Mr Kim's pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Mr Trump such high stakes. Their hotels are cordoned off with heavy security.

Singapore is one of the few countries which shares cordial relations with both United States and North Korea. "Even after the two leaders open the dialogue, we will need a long process that may take one year, two years or even longer to completely resolve the issues", the president said in a weekly meeting with his top aides held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

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