Kim Jong-un's Flight to Singapore a Precision Maneuver

Clay Curtis
June 11, 2018

During the flight, the President spent time meeting with his staff, reading materials, and preparing for his meetings in Singapore.

He was greeted by Singapore's foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, who posted a picture on Twitter of him shaking hands with Kim and the message: "Welcomed Chairman Kim Jong Un, who has just arrived in Singapore".

The summit will be the first meeting between Trump and Kim and mark a turnaround of relations between the two leaders after a long-running exchange of furious threats and insults.

Last year, the North made one of the biggest breakthroughs in its missile and nuclear weapons programs - which it says it needs to defend against the risk of a USA invasion - when it announced that it had "completed" its state nuclear program after testing a missile capable of striking most, if not all, of the continental U.S.

Kim smiled broadly Sunday evening as he met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"The entire world is watching the historic summit between [North Korea] and the United States of America, and thanks to your honest efforts. we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit", Kim told Lee through an interpreter.

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two-hour meeting on Monday morning was "substantive and detailed". A U.S. official says Monday that the leaders will meet for up to two hours before an expanded bilateral meeting with their respective advisers. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations and insisted on anonymity.

The United States and North Korea have been in a technical state of war for decades after the eruption of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which pitted U.S. -led U.N. troops backing Seoul against Pyongyang's forces that were aided by China.

Trump has said he wants to strike a deal to get the North to give up its nuclear weapons. Pyongyang says it hopes for a "new" start with the US.

"The entire world is focusing on the historic summit between the DPRK (North Korea) and the United States, and thanks to your honest efforts".

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Trump and Kim touched down on a sweltering early summer day in Singapore, the city-state founded in the early 19th Century as a British colony because of its position at the intersection of sea lanes between Europe and Asia.

Some 3,000 journalists are expected to descend on Singapore.

The coordinated messaging appeared to be designed both to prime the North Korean public for potential change, and also to dispel rumours that Kim did not wish to publicise the trip - his first as leader outside of his own borders or nearby China - for fear of a coup.

For more on the meeting in Singapore, we cross to Oliver Miocic in Seoul.

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.

Part of the interest in Tuesday's summit is simply because Kim has had limited appearances on the world stage. He has not left his country since taking office in 2011 other than to visit China and the South Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone on the border.

Previous year the North carried out what was by far its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched a flurry of missiles - including two over Japan - while Trump threatened Pyongyang with "fire and fury" and Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged US dotard".

The meeting was initially meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, but the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session. He has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korea War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty.

Perhaps he'll offer to withdraw the 28,000 American troops stationed in South Korea, Haenle said, or to pull back the so-called nuclear umbrella of protection Washington offers allies South Korea and Japan.

Earlier Trump had said the meeting was a "one-time shot" for Kim.

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