North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Singapore Prime Minister

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Singapore Prime Minister

Singapore - Kim smiled broadly in the meeting Sunday evening.



By Reuters

Published: Sun 10 Jun 2018, 11:08 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Jun 2018, 1:24 PM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead of Tuesday's summit with President Donald Trump.
Kim smiled broadly in the meeting Sunday evening.
Kim told Lee: "The entire world is watching the historic summit between the DPRK and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts ... we were able to complete the preparation for the historic summit."
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un landed in Singapore on Sunday, Singapore's Straits Times reported, ahead of a summit with US President Donald Trump that could end a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and transform his impoverished country.
Kim arrived in a Air China 747 that touched down at Changi Airport, Straits Times said.

 
Kim's motorcade leaves the airport after the North Korean leader touched down in Singapore.
 
The city-state's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with Kim at Changi Airport, saying: "Welcomed Chairman Kim Jong Un, who has just arrived in Singapore."
 
 
 
Kim is set to meet Tuesday with Trump in what's shaping up to be one of the most unusual summits in modern history.
 
Trump is scheduled to arrive at Singapore's Paya Lebar Airbase at 8:35 pm on Sunday and go to the Shangri-La Hotel, according to the White House.
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-each-other meeting. He has also raised the possibility of further summits.

What to look for at US-North Korea summit

Deliverables
If Trump and Kim are serious about these talks, they will come to the table with something the other wants.
Since they share a penchant for big, splashy actions, there has been a lot of speculation Kim may agree to hand over some of his nuclear weapons, fissile material or actual missiles, and that Trump is looking at some kind of peace declaration.
Any of the above would be dramatic and potentially game-changing developments.
But beware of the one-off. That's where the summit could devolve into nothing more than a theatrical diversion. While some meaningful moves need to be made right up front, it's unreasonable to demand immediate solutions and counterproductive to seek flashy quick fixes. The success of a summit of this magnitude isn't measured in a day. It's a process.
Unless, of course, it fails.

Flexibility
The Trump administration claims to have forced Kim to the negotiating table with its hard-line "maximum pressure" policy of tough sanctions and heightened political pressure. But breakthroughs in talks will most likely involve a lot of give and take.
Ultimately, Washington's objective is the "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization" of North Korea. That's a very tall order. Even if Kim wants to go down that road, which isn't entirely clear, it would likely take years and require lots of further talks and agreements about how to monitor and verify the process. So, realistically, Washington is going to have to show some flexibility on the timeline toward its final goal.
Kim, on the other hand, is going to have to bend on something significant if he wants to keep the momentum going. He has already announced several concessions - he released three American prisoners, ordered the closure of his nuclear test site and declared a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches. All are meaningful displays of a willingness to talk. But they are also half-measures, at best.
A sure sign of progress would be if both sides agree to something that won't come easily, or can't easily be undone.
Commitments: Next steps
Friendly words of late notwithstanding, there's a lot of bad blood between Washington and Pyongyang. Fixing it will take time.
If progress is to be made, talks between the two countries - and not necessarily between the two leaders - must continue.
Watch for a joint statement that announces concrete next steps. Working-level discussions to work out whatever agreements are made by Trump and Kim are absolutely crucial because it is generally in the implementation and interpretation of agreements between the U.S. and North Korea that they have broken down.
Talking for talking sake, without any agreement to address the North's nuclear and missile programs, might serve Kim's purposes but would be a big mistake for Washington.


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