North Korea's Kim lands in Singapore ahead of summit with Trump

Andrew Cummings
June 11, 2018

Trump arrived in Singapore calling the summit a "one-time shot" for Kim, who is being urged to abandon his weapons program and normalize relations with the rest of the world in exchange for unspecified "protections" from the U.S. North Korea has long anxious about an American invasion and justifies its nuclear buildup as a way to defend itself.

On Sunday, Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore where he is expected to hold a meeting with US President Donald Trump on June 12.

Asked about a North Korean state media report that Trump and Kim were set to talk denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula, the official said the report is a hopeful indication. North Korea is seeking a security guarantee - possibly including a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War - and the removal of the U.S.'s nuclear umbrella protecting allies South Korea and Japan.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the preparatory talks were moving quite rapidly and "and we anticipate that they will come to their logical conclusion even more quickly than we anticipated".

Some foreign-policy experts said the breakdown at the Group of 7 meeting would play to North Korea's advantage, since Mr. Trump can ill afford a second failed summit, back to back.


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

At the hotel lobby, grim-faced North Korean security guards warned other hotel guests not to take pictures as Kim walked to his Mercedes Benz limousine.

Trump-Kim meeting: Theatrics over substance?

"The senior officials of the party and government sincerely wished Kim Jong Un good successes in the first summit meeting and talks between the DPRK and the USA and his safe return", the KCNA said. Traffic was held up in the steamy midday sun and scores of bystanders were penned in by police when Trump went to meet Lee.

People crowded around poster stands at train stations around the capital, Pyongyang, to read the news, and gathered at noon on Monday in front of the city's main train station to watch a large screen display of images of Kim disembarking from the special Air China flight that took him to Singapore.


Mr Kim's itinerary was reported in detail, which is a rarity for the state's media, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Many questions remain unanswered, however, including whether the North Koreans have robust enough communication systems to make sure no one panics and launches an attack, said Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program.

The outcomes of Tuesday's unprecedented meeting are highly uncertain, but analysts say that the mere fact is happenng is a step forward.

A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USA side was entering the talks with a sense of optimism and an equal dose of scepticism given North Korea's long history of developing nuclear weapons.

But Choi and Sung have since met five times at the demilitarised zone in South Korea in a whirlwind of diplomacy to get the historic meeting on track.


Despite the initial high stakes of a meeting meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know meeting. Mr. Trump is offering security assurances and economic development in return for the complete dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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