Business as usual in North Korea as public unaware of summit

Andrew Cummings
June 11, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his office in Singapore Sunday evening in his first diplomatic outing of his visit to the country ahead of Tuesday's landmark summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Watchers said Monday it still remains unclear whether the two countries can reach any historic agreement on denuclearization and security guarantee, but the latest external developments from both sides seem to indicate the talks will proceed successfully.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said USA and North Korean officials would hold working-level talks on Monday.

For his part, Trump accused the summit host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of lying, and threatened to end trade with G-7 nations that he said use unfair practices.

Discussions would focus on "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", KCNA said.

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At the same time, Trump stressed that Washington would not accept Pyongyang's refusal to denuclearize.

Asked by VOA News whether he would bring up North Korea's egregious human rights record, including its system of gulags for civilians deemed enemies of the state, and the unresolved fate of Japanese abducted by North Korean agents over the decades, Trump replied, "We're going to bring everything up".

US President Donald Trump is set to arrive in the city-state later on Sunday.

"We will not be surprised by any scenario", said the official.

The official said Trump and Kim would hold a one-on-one meeting on Tuesday that could last up to two hours. "And then we'll find out later that, obviously, we didn't get there in terms of, you know, our goal, which is complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of their program".

Trump took office having been warned by President Obama that North Korea would be his gravest challenge, and tensions boiled nearly immediately as Pyongyang began a barrage of missile tests during Trump's first months in office.

Trump went from one global leadership summit to another this weekend, leaving the G-7 conference in Canada to fly to Singapore.

Trump on Monday morning was upbeat: "Great to be in Singapore, excitement is in the air!"

Media captionBarbed wire and smuggled crabs: Watching North Korea from China How did they arrive?

The report also said Mr Kim was accompanied by his foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, defence minister No Kwang Chol and sister Ms Kim Yo Jong.

Certainly security will soon ramp up but for now the only real hint of what is about to happen are the signs at the front of the summit venue - the uber-luxurious Capella Hotel on Sentosa island - saying "police check, comply with police orders".

North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun proclaimed Kim's arrival in Singapore on its front page, in unusually swift coverage of his global visit.

"So we are going in with a really positive spirit". However, it can not be the only topic of discussion between Trump and Kim.

U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim led the United States delegation while Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui was part of North Korea's delegation.

At their summit in April Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to seek a peace treaty and Trump mused earlier this month: "Can you believe we're talking about the ending of the Korean War?"

Kim arrived at Singapore's Changi Airport after his longest trip overseas as head of state, wearing his trademark dark "Mao suit" and distinctive high-cut hairstyle. Technically, the United States and North Korea remain in a state of war.

Other reports by iNewsToday