Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Two prizes are on the table for Trump in North Korea summit

Top North Korean singer is part of Kim's summit entourage Ms Hyon Song Wol
Kenny Thornton | 14 June, 2018, 04:20

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Kim on June 12 in Singapore to discuss Pyongyang's relinquishment of its nuclear arsenal in exchange for security assurances and economic relief, though some U.S. lawmakers have been pushing for him raise human rights issues as well.

Heavy security and armed police are standing guard at summit-related venues across the city state.

But Trump said, "We could absolutely sign an agreement and we're looking at it", adding, "Sounds a little bit unusual, but that's probably the easy part".

After shaking hands again with Kim in front of cameras, Trump gave a thumbs-up before starting the first meeting between an incumbent US president and a DPRK leader.

Pompeo, who led the outreach as Central Intelligence Agency director, traveled twice to North Korea for preliminary talks.

Dinner plans were abandoned by reporters, including this correspondent, as they raced to likely locations for the first close up look at Kim, who had remained out of sight in the St Regis on Monday.

Trump also tweeted: "Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly. but in the end, that doesn't matter".

The agreement quickly broke down when the United States froze assets belonging to Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, which was suspected of laundering millions of dollars for the North Korean regime. During his stroll, crowds yelled out Kim's name and jostled to take pictures, and the North Korean leader posed for a selfie with Singapore officials. Trump was asked why he didn't get a commitment from Kim for complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement, or CVID. The North Koreans have talked about having President Trump to Pyongyang.

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Kim was cheered by onlookers who caught sight of the dictator, who until earlier this spring was not believed to have ever left North Korea as supreme leader.

Kim is staying at the $9,000-a-night presidential suite at the St. Regis Hotel, while Trump is at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel.

"China might have wanted to prevent Chinese smugglers from entering North Korea so they cracked down on smuggling organizations in the border area few days ago and arrested number of smugglers", he said. "If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable", Mr Trump said ahead of the meeting. Missile tests, nuclear tests, and sinking a South Korean warship followed, causing the United Nations to impose even tougher sanctions. After meeting privately and with aides, Trump and Kim moved into the luncheon at a long flower-bedecked table.

Trump told reporters he would "absolutely" extend an invitation to the White House to Kim, who also heralded a new era.

Former U.S. National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman arrived in Singapore late on Monday for the summit, saying he was "excited to be part of it", although there has been no indication he would be involved in any official talks. Critics fear that Mr Trump is poorly prepared for the negotiations - while others say Mr Trump's quickfire approach has already produced results - including North Korea saying it is willing to consider denuclearising.

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. Carrying with them hopes to end seven decades of hostility and the threat of a nuclear confrontation, the meeting between the two firebrand leaders will be watched closely by people across the world. President Trump has described it as a "get-to-know-you situation" and said "it's going to be a process".

"Today, we had a historic meeting and chose to leave the past behind", Kim said through a translator.

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