Highlights: Only courageous can make peace, says Trump after meeting Kim

Cheryl Sanders
June 14, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he does not believe a reduction of U.S. troop numbers on the Korean Peninsula will be up for discussion when President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un meet Tuesday in Singapore.

But he added: "In the end, that doesn't matter". When Kim meets Trump, this will no doubt be on his mind.

Pompeo said Monday the only acceptable outcome of the summit is "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" or dismantlement.

The first-ever meeting between a USA president and a North Korean leader was to kick off at 9 a.m. Tuesday with a handshake, an image sure to be devoured from Washington to Pyongyang and beyond.

The agreement quickly broke down when the U.S. froze assets belonging to Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, which was suspected of laundering millions of dollars for the North Korean regime.

The elite squad is reminding numerous cheerleaders the North Korean leader sent to the Winter Olympics in February. Their hope is that Trump and Kim can agree to a plan that allows North Korea to denuclearize in return for normalized ties with the US. It found that not only had North Korea provided a "qualitative increase" to Iran's missile capabilities, it ultimately furthered Iran's self-sufficiency in the production of medium-range ballistic missiles and could "significantly improve" Iran's ability to create an intercontinental ballistic missile.

SHAPIRO: But do we know who's going to be negotiating for the North Koreans?

Half an hour later, Kim came down to the lobby, dressed in his customary black Mao suit and accompanied by his sister Kim Yo-jong and his de facto chief of staff Kim Chang-son.

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.

But the casual onlooker may have had difficulty spotting Kim, who was surrounded by his force of about a dozen loyal bodyguards, who formed a human shield around him.

Although gaps remain over what denuclearisation would entail, Trump sounded a positive note in a lunch meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee. "China will be more than happy to facilitate that strategic transition, but a precondition to doing that is a better North Korea-US relationship". In exchange, Trump agreed to "provide security guarantees" to North Korea.

Kim Yong Chol's rise has baffled many North Korea watchers because he is the ruling Workers' Party official in charge of South Korea ties, not worldwide or US relations.

Mr Trump famously vowed to unleash "fire and fury" if Pyongyang kept threatening the US.

The US is also concerned about the proliferation of North Korea's weapons and the infrastructure supporting its nuclear programme, and will want those issues addressed as part of any deal. But Trump's off-the-cuff negotiating style - and his growing disregard for many of Washington's closest allies - makes it hard to predict what any such a deal might include. As reported by the Strait Times, in an unexpected telephone conversation with Trump, Moon said that it was only the beginning of what was likely to be a years-long process of denuclearising North Korea. The topics discussed were not immediately disclosed, but Trump said he approved of the progress made.

The Latest on the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in Singapore. In that first meeting they'll be joined only by translators, a break from standard practice of having at least one aide present for high-stakes huddles.

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