On the ground in Singapore ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

Daniel Fowler
June 11, 2018

Trump continued to tweet angrily at Trudeau from Singapore, saying Monday: "Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal". And he won't have that opportunity again.

Beijing helped bring Kim to the talks in Singapore, both strategically through increased economic pressure, and literally - Kim arrived in an Air China Boeing 747.

Singapore knows how to handle events like this, however historic they may be.

While en route to Singapore, Trump said he looked forward to meeting Kim on what he anticipated would be an exciting day.

The jet carrying Kim landed at the airport Sunday afternoon amid huge security precautions on this city-state island.

Nearly half of the money was spent on security measures, but also included costs such as accommodation for the North Korean delegation at the five-star St. Regis hotel-whose 3,600 square foot presidential suite costs 13,410 Singapore dollars ($10,050) a night, according to the Singapore Business Review-and the media center.

Trump has had recent discussions with South Korean Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping - who all have vested interests in the outcome - about matters he plans to raise.

President Donald Trump and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shake hands during a meeting at the Istana in Singapore, June 11, 2018.

The leaders of the United States and North Korea are gearing up for their historic first meeting which, if successful, could put to rest longtime fears of a war on the divided Korean Peninsula. Traffic was held up in the steamy midday sun and scores of bystanders were penned in by police when Trump went to meet Lee.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire USA mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the US and the North.

Kim Yo Jong also enjoyed a walkabout in Singapore
Image Kim Yo Jong also enjoyed a walkabout in Singapore

Experts believe the North is on the brink of being able to target the entire USA mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the USA and the North.

"We were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit, and I would like to thank you for that", Kim, speaking through an interpreter, told Lee.

Meanwhile, President Trump arrived at Paya Lebar Airbase in Singapore in the evening and was also received there by the country's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

China, which wants to cool tensions on the Korean Peninsula and was rattled by Trump's "Fire and Fury" talk past year, has a major stake in the outcome of tomorrow's much-anticipated bilateral nuclear talks between Trump and Kim.

The top USA and North Korean negotiators had earlier emerged from a last-ditch meeting at the Ritz Carlton with pursed lips, and no sign of whether an attempt to narrow the gap between United States and North Korean expectations of what denuclearisation should look like, had worked.

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. Trump has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty. He has been to Beijing twice and has briefly crossed the frontier at the Demilitarised Zone with South Korea to meet its president.

It's not just the logistics of Kim's trip that are unclear.

Pompeo told reporters earlier Monday that the U.S.is "prepared to make security assurances" for North Korea if they denuclearize.

The guards must be about the same height as Kim, BBC said. "They pocket all of it and lose essentially nothing", said Christopher Hill, President George W. Bush's lead nuclear negotiator with the North. In my meetings with North Korea's foreign ministry, its officials have repeatedly emphasized that only a leader-to-leader dialogue could break the nuclear impasse.

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