Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

The latest from Singapore: Trump predicts ‘terrific relationship’ with Kim

The latest from Singapore: Trump predicts ‘terrific relationship’ with Kim

Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un went on an evening tour of Singapore on Monday, posing with city-state officials at a tropical garden before visiting an infinity pool atop a landmark waterfront hotel, to the surprise of guests.

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

Kim arrived on Sunday in Singapore, and Trump followed yesterday, after attending the G7 summit in Quebec.

He has also convinced the North Korean people that nuclear weapons are their only savior from an invasion by the U.S. But Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, has also promised to transform North Korea's economy and the lives of its people.

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

The eccentric former reality television star is one of the few westerners to have spent time with Kim during multiple visits to Pyongyang and the two struck up an unlikely friendship over their shared love of basketball.

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And South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has met twice with Kim and three times with Trump, has reportedly lobbied for a trilateral meeting in Singapore to discuss a formal end to the Korean War.

He was whisked up the lifts as his security escort of a dozen North Koreans in dark suits ran up the stairs. She also led a large North Korean art troupe sent to South Korea during the February Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Trump has openly floated the possibility of striking a peace deal formally ending the Korean War 65 years after an armistice ceased military hostilities. For his part, Kim hailed the "historic meeting" and said they "decided to leave the past behind". But whether North Korea is willing to do that is a big, open question right now.

After meeting privately and with aides, Trump and Kim moved into a working luncheon at a long flower-bedecked table. "If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable", Mr Trump said ahead of the meeting.

While Trump and Kim shake hands, searching each other's eyes and words for signs of trust or deceit, the rest of the world will be watching, hoping that somehow these two unpredictable leaders can find a way to defuse one of the planet's most risky flashpoints.

A sit-down with the United States president is something North Korea has long pushed for.

While advisers say Trump has been reviewing briefing materials, the president insists his gut instincts will matter most when he gets in the room with Kim.

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Close US ally Japan has urged Trump to bring up the decades-old issue of its citizens abducted in 1970s and 1980s to train Pyongyang's spies in Japanese language and customs.

Trump also said he hopes to eventually withdraw United States forces from South Korea, but said "that's not part of the equation right now".

That's a massive shift in Kim's public persona, and it might show one of the reasons both Trump and Kim were eager for this meeting to take place: Regardless of what actually happens, worldwide summits can be a pretty big PR boost.

Talks proceeded at multiple levels, including logistical discussions to allay Kim's fears of being deposed while traveling further afield than he ever has before as the country's leader. But he acknowledged the effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear arsenal was in its early stages.

While human rights will get a low billing in Singapore, Trump hasn't totally ignored the issue. Pompeo held firm to Trump's position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes - and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

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