Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un arrive in Singapore

Leroy Wright
June 15, 2018

In the historic first meeting between the leaders of the technically-still-warring nations, Trump is prioritizing instinct over planning.

US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) during his visit to The Istana, the official residence of the prime minister, in Singapore on June 11, 2018.

After a flurry of contacts between the two Koreas, South Korean officials suggested to Trump in March that Kim would be willing to meet face-to-face and the US president agreed. She said the US delegation would be led by Sung Kim, a veteran diplomat who recently held talks with North Korean officials.

Kim had arrived hours earlier in a plane loaned by China, which for decades has been North Korea's only major ally. Trump met with Lee separately Monday.

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. Since the Korean War, Beijing has seen the North as a buffer between itself and the U.S., which maintains almost 80,000 troops in South Korea and Japan.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said Monday the surveys conducted through home visits, phone calls and letters will continue through August 10.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a supporter of the Sunshine Policy, has made a fresh effort at detente since he was voted to power in May a year ago.

The Koreas are planning to hold military talks on Thursday to reduce tension across their heavily armed border.

Trump said Tuesday at the beginning of expanded discussions with aides from both countries that "We will solve a big problem" and "a big dilemma".

Kim Yo-jong, leader Kim's younger sister, was also spotted in his delegation. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations and insisted on anonymity.

Trump and Kim's summit, the first ever between two sitting leaders of the countries, will begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at the exclusive Capella Hotel in Sentosa Island.

Mr Trump tweeted on Monday morning that there was "excitement in the air" in the Asian country ahead of the summit. Meanwhile, U.S. and North Korean officials huddled at a hotel Monday ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

North Korea's state news agency struck an optimistic note about the summit, saying Kim plans to discuss "the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern".

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have arrived in Singapore for their historic summit
GETTYDonald Trump and Kim Jong-un have arrived in Singapore for their historic summit

The KCNA report noted the summit is being held "under the great attention and expectation of the whole world".

President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un concluded an extraordinary nuclear summit Tuesday by signing a document in which Trump pledged "security guarantees" to the North and Kim reiterated his commitment to "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

Pompeo traveled twice to Pyongyang in recent months to lay the groundwork for Trump's meeting, becoming the most senior member of Trump's team to spend time with Kim face to face.

Kim isn't talking to Trump because his people are starving or because his economy is imploding. Though the media outlets did not mention details of the carrier, photos of Kim boarding a Boeing 747 Air China flight provided by Beijing were released through Rodong Sinmun.

It's Kim's pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Trump such high stakes.

Another possibility from the summit is a deal to end the Korean War, which North Korea has long demanded, presumably, in part, to get US troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea. In order to assert pressure on China, successive USA administrations have blamed Beijing for allowing the North Koreans to develop nuclear and missile programs.

Senior North Korean and US diplomats held last-minute talks in Singapore on Monday to come up with a draft agreement to be presented to the leaders of the two countries, according to officials.

He invited the thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square to pray with him so that the Virgin Mary "accompany these talks".

Suh Hoon, who was instrumental in arranging the 2000 summit, is now Moon's spy chief and played a key role in pursuing the summit between Kim and Trump. But amid the curiosity is an even more fundamental question: Why is he taking this risk at all?

While the historic gathering in Singapore is the big story of the week, key central bank decisions in the USA and Europe will also be closely followed.

Experts noted the rare move as Kim's strategy of conveying a message of "confidence" for North Korean people. One bar offered a special "Bromance" cocktail, at least one street stall hawked a noodle dish in honor of the summit, and cardboard fans and water bottles showed stylized likenesses of Trump and Kim.

They expect the North Koreans to ask for security guarantees including a pledge that the United States and South Korea will not invade, and also a request for economic aid. He has also raised the possibility of further summits.

Half of Americans approve of Trump's handling of North Korea after summit
About 29,000 United States soldiers are based in the South, under a security agreement reached after the war ended in 1953. The likelihood of Kim Jong Un launching a first strike against the US , thereby bringing on " fire and fury ", was low.

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