Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting updates: South Korea says need to figure out what the US meant by stopping military drills

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Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting updates: South Korea says need to figure out what the US meant by stopping military drills
  • 16:28 (IST)

    UN's nuclear watchdog welcomes US-North Korea summit

    The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog is welcoming President Donald Trump's joint statement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says his agency "stands ready to undertake any verification activities in (North Korea) that it may be requested to conduct by the countries concerned."

    Amano says the IAEA "will closely follow the negotiations to be held between the two countries to implement the outcomes" of Trump's summit with Kim.

  • 16:17 (IST)

    Donald Trump departs from Singapore

    Donald Trump is heading home a day earlier than expected. He said he didn't want to stay an extra night when everything he'd set out to do had been accomplished. He says, "There was nothing more we could have done."

    Trump will be stopping in Guam and Hawaii as he makes his way back to Washington.

  • 16:02 (IST)

    Trump and Kim showed courage and determination: South Korea

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who watched the summit unfold from Seoul, said that the two leaders showed courage and determination by not settling for outdated and familiar reality but to take a daring step towards change.

    ""Seventy years of division and hostility, however, have cast a dark shadow that makes it difficult to believe what is actually taking place before our very eyes. I pay my high compliments for the courage and determination of the two leaders, President Trump and Chairman Kim, not to settle for that outdated and familiar reality but to take a daring step towards change.The 12 June Sentosa Agreement will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on earth," CNN quoted Moon Jae-in as saying. 

  • 15:53 (IST)

    South Korea says need to figure out what US meant by stopping military drills

    The US military will stop "war games" on the Korean Peninsula, President Trump said, as he announced details of his discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. However, South Korea doesn't seem to be on the same page. 

    According to CNN, South Korea’s government has reacted cautiously to Trump's comments saying that it needed to figure out Trump’s accurate meaning and intention when he said that he will stop joint military drills with Seoul. 

  • 15:44 (IST)

    MEA hopes developments in North Korea will draw focus to arm proliferation in India's neighbourhood

    "We hope that the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK Summit will be implemented, thus paving the way for lasting peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. We also hope that the resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue will take into account and address our concerns about proliferation linkages extending to India’s neighbourhood," MEA's press release said in apparent reference to China and Pakistan. 

  • 15:43 (IST)

    MEA welcomes US-North Korea summit, hopes outcomes of meet will be implemented soon 

    "India welcomes the United States - DPRK Summit held in Singapore. This is a positive development. India has always supported all efforts to bring about peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release. 

  • 15:40 (IST)

    'Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace'

    Donald Trump said: "The past does not have to define the future..there’s no limit to what North Korea can achieve..today is the beginning of an arduous process...only the courageous can make peace”

  • 15:30 (IST)

    US, North Korea discussed human rights, religious freedom and Japanese abductees, says Mike Pompeo 

  • 15:15 (IST)

    No limit to what North Korea can achieve if it gives up nukes, says Donald Trump

    Trump said he brought Kim Jong-un to the table by showing him what the future could look like should he choose the path of peace: "Instead of [testing missiles] you could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective" 

    "There is absolutely no limit to what North Korea can achieve (if they give up nuclear wepons)," Trump added. 

  • 15:01 (IST)

    South Korea, Japan to help foot the bill for North Korea's denuclearisation  

    A reporter asked Donald Trump that who will foot the bill for North Korea's denuclearisation programme. This is what he said:  

  • 14:56 (IST)

    Important event in world history, I want to get this done, says Donald Trump

    "To me it's a very important event in world history. To be really true to myself, I have to add I really want to get it completed…If you don't get the ball over the goal line, it doesn't mean enough," Trump said. 

  • 14:51 (IST)

    Can't ensure anything, but I know he wants to make a deal, says Donald Trump

    In response to a question that whether he can ensure that North Korea will follow through on all the promises, Trump said, "Can I ensure anything?...All they can say is that they want to make a deal…and I know when someone wants to deal and when they don't. I have been doing deals for a long time."  

    He reasserted that he earnestly believes that North Korea is indeed interested in 'real change' even though he admitted that he could be wrong. 

    "Honestly, I think he's going to do these things. I may be wrong. I may stand before you six months from now and say, 'Hey, I was wrong'…Or maybe I'll find an excuse."

  • 14:41 (IST)

    I do trust him; he means to get things done: Donald Trump on Kim Jong-un 

    When asked that what if these claims are all talks and no action, Trump said that it was inappropriate to answer at the time because he didn't want to be "threatening" at this time. He, however, added that "I do" trust Kim Jong-un.

  • 14:32 (IST)

    Secretary-level meeting next week to go over details, says Donald Trump

    US president Donald Trump, reacting to a question on why he failed to get Kim Jong-un to agree to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation: "I'm here for one day… we were in consultation for long hours but its just one day. The process is now going to take place."

    He later added that secretary-level meetings will continue over next week to go over the details."We're getting together next week….to go over the details," he said. 

  • 14:28 (IST)

    Discussed human rights with Kim Jong-un, says Trump 

    On a question about his previous statements about the "brutal rule" in North Korea, Donald Trump said that he discussed human rights with Kim Jong-un and the two countries will hold more conversations on that in the future. 

  • 14:26 (IST)

    Inappropriate to play war games now, says Donald Trump 

    Trump says perhaps "fire and fury" language was needed last year, but not now: "I don't want to be threatening. You've seen what was perhaps going to happen. Seoul has 28 million people…right next to the border. It's right next to the DMZ. It's right there." 

    He said that as long as talks with North Korea are ongoing, "I believe it's inappropriate to be conducting war games."

  • 14:19 (IST)

    Haven't slept in 25 hours, but didn't give up anything: Trump

    Donald Trump said that certain news outlets were claiming that the president has given up so much "but I haven't given up anything." "I sure didn't sleep in the last 25 hours but I thought it was important. Its good for us, it's good for them," Trump said. 

  • 14:12 (IST)

    Denuclearisation is a long process, says Trump

    "Denuclarisation is a long process and these things take a lot of time," US President Donald Trump said. He added that the process would have been much easier had this happened five years ago. "And I'm not just blaming President Obama here but even people before him. This should have happened much much before," Trump said. 

  • 14:05 (IST)

    I didn't say nice, I said Kim is talented and he is: Trump

    When asked why was Trump so certain that a man, who is known to be brutal (Kim) was "respectful", Trump says, "I don't say he's nice. He is talented."

  • 14:03 (IST)

    North Korea's compliance of guidelines will be 'verified by a lot of people'

    "This is complete denuclearisation of North Korea, and it will be verified," says Trump when asked that words like 'reversible' weren't used in the document which Trump dubbed as "comprehensive".

    "I'd like to be able to bring them (soldiers) home…I'd like to be able to end the war games…I think it's very provocative," says Trump.

  • 13:56 (IST)

    Trump says that North Korea has agreed to destroy a major missile engine test site, which wasn't included as part of the written declaration

  • 13:55 (IST)

    Kim has an opportunity like no other: Trump

    "Chairman Kim has before him an opportunity like no other to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of prosperity for his people," says Trump.

  • 13:54 (IST)

    It will soon end: Trump on Korean War

    Trump says there is now a hope that the Korean War can be brought to a formal end. "It will soon end. The past does not have to define the future."

  • 13:54 (IST)

    Kim talks 'honest, direct and productive': Trump

    Trump calls Kim talks "honest, direct and productive." "We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time under very strong, strong circumstances."

  • 13:53 (IST)

    WATCH: Trump press conference 

  • 13:48 (IST)

    President Donald Trump begins addressing media in Singapore

  • 12:59 (IST)

    READ FULL TEXT: Trump and Kim's joint statement

    President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

    President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:

    1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

    2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

    3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

    4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

    Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance and overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit.

    President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

    12 June, 2018

    Sentosa Island

    Singapore

  • 12:26 (IST)

    We will meet many times: Donald Trump's affection for Kim

    In less than five hours of meeting Kim, Trump said he shared a special bond with the North Korean leader. "Kim and I have developed a special bond and would meet again...We’ll meet many times." Soon after the meeting, Trump also described Kim as “a very worthy, very smart negotiator."

    Responding to a question whether the US president will invite Kim to Washington, Trump said, "Absolutely, I will"

  • 12:22 (IST)

    North Korea commits to 'denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula'

    Reports claim that North Korea has agreed and committed to "denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula". A section of the document signed by Trump and Kim this morning in Singapore says, 

    "President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

    However, there is no date or deadline mentioned for completion of any of the commitments made in the document. Trump, during the short address, said that a more detailed press conference at 4 pm (Singapore time) will give a clearer picture. 

  • 11:59 (IST)

    North Korea's media might not air anything on Trump-Kim summit till tomrrow

    British journalist Martyn Williams took to Twitter and said that the North Korean media "just came on air". According to Martyn, who works in North Korea, tweeted that the leading story on the summit "was a short report, accompanied with no photos or video, of Kim's night outing last evening." 

  • 11:21 (IST)

    World will see major change, says Kim after 'historic' meeting with Trump

    Trump and Kim signed a joint agreement, although the exact details still remain unknown. "We're signing a very important document, a pretty comprehensive document," Trump said addressing a roomful of reporters who were waiting. He said he would discuss it "at great length" at the news conference at 4 pm, and indicated it would be made available publicly.

    Kim said that he wanted to express gratitude to Trump for ensuring that this meeting happened. "We had historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind and we are about to sign the historic document. World will see the change," Kim said.

  • 11:20 (IST)

    Room is in relative order and the leaders are expected to come out soon

  • 11:02 (IST)

    Room is in relative order and the leaders are expected to come out soon

  • an US official told CNN . ">

    10:51 (IST)

    Trump-Kim agreement to acknowledge progress of talks till now

    President Trump and Kim Jong-un will sign an agreement to acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, an US official told CNN.

  • 10:47 (IST)

    Journalists ushered into room where Trump-Kim signing ceremony could be discussed

    American journalists have been reportedly ushered into a room with a table and two chairs. White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton are among those in the room, Bloomberg reports. No word yet what this event will be.

  • 10:35 (IST)

    Number of American journalists were limited to match number of Korean reporters

    The White House limited the number of American journalists in the press pool with Trump to match the number of North Korean reporters following Kim, reports have said. It is interesting that the media in North Korea is state-controlled. 

  • 10:33 (IST)

    Kim arrived at the summit venue 7 minutes earlier than Trump to show respect

    According to Korean media, Kim arrived at the summit venue 7 minutes earlier than Trump to "show respect."  "It’s cultural, The young one should arrive earlier than the elder one," media reports said. 

  • 10:29 (IST)

    Trump and Kim before going for the signing ceremony

    Video courtesy: @JeremyKohCNA

  • 10:23 (IST)

    Signing ceremony next, but Trump, Kim have no clue what they are signing

    In news that's breaking, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are headed for "signing ceremony". When asked what, he said, "We'll announce that in a couple of minutes."

    Trump and Kim did come out to meet reporters waiting outside the Capella Hotel, and said that the "meeting was positive" — what that means is left to be seen. 

    Image courtesy: @JeremyKohCNA

  • 10:16 (IST)

    World will think they are watching a sci-fi: Kim

    Aware that the eyes of the world were on a moment many people never expected to see, Kim said that many of those watching would think it was a scene from a "science fiction movie."

    For all the upbeat talk, it was an open question what, if any, concrete results the sit-down would produce. In advance of their private session, Trump predicted "tremendous success," while Kim said through an interpreter that "we have come here after overcoming" obstacles.

  • 10:07 (IST)

    WATCH: Trump with Kim: “Excellent relationship” during Singapore summit

  • 10:06 (IST)

    WATCH: Trump voices optimism during summit with Kim, saying that "we will solve a big problem."

  • 10:05 (IST)

    Delegates meet for lunch

    The room where the delegates met for lunch was set in an extremely Singaporean style — tall windows on three sides, lots of flowers and a bright room. In addition, there were sweeping ivory linens and some small, modest photographs on the wall. 

    Since media wasn't allowed inside the lunch room, very few photographs are available of it. There have been grumblings throughout the media that the White House didn't secure the customary full access for the American press, Bloomberg reported.

  • 10:00 (IST)

    More than 2,500 media from 44 countries and 415 media outlets registered for accreditation

    Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore is one of the most awaited events of this year, and according to reports over 2,500 media houses from 44 countries applied for accreditation.

  • 09:26 (IST)

    South Korea's Moon had a sleepless night on Monday

    According to Bloomberg, South Korean president Moon Jae-in said he had a sleepless night on Tuesday and the unification minister said he doesn't have any projections for summit results but is just "praying". 

  • 09:12 (IST)

    Trump to address media at 4 pm today; lunch with Kim at 11.30 am

    Trump and Kim are expected to have a working lunch at around 11.30 am (Singapore time) (9 am IST). Here is the expected summit schedule for the rest of today (all times Singapore - 2 and a half hours ahead of India).

    11.30 am: Trump and Kim to have a working lunch
    4 pm: Trump will hold press conference 
    6.30 pm: Trump departs from Capella en route to the airport
    7 pm: Trump departs Singapore en route to Washington via Guam

  • 09:07 (IST)

    State TV in North Korea not due until 3 pm

    North Koreans till now haven't seen their supreme leader shake hands with the US president — a scene that the entire world witnessed at 6.30 am (Singapore time). According to reports, the state TV in North Korea isn't due to go on air till 3 pm. 

  • 09:03 (IST)

    Prawns cocktail, Beef short ribs and Yangzhou fried rice: See what Kim and Trump will be served this afternoon

    Starting from Traditional prawn cocktail served with avocado salad as appetiser to North Korea's Daegu Jorim (Soy Braised Cod fish with Radish) as main course, there are about 9 items on their menu.

  • 08:37 (IST)

    Expanded talks underway

    After a 41-minute one-on-one session, Kim and Trump are currently locked in an expanded bilateral meeting, reports have said. Local media from Singapore reports that no one knows how long will the talks continue.

  • 08:11 (IST)

    Students at Korean international school gasped as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived 

Trump-Kim Summit Latest Updates: US President Donald Trump said, "We are probably going to need another summit." He added that he will visit Pyongyang "at a certain time."

Trump said that he will invite Chairman Kim to the White House "at an appropriate time," and that Kim has accepted the invite.

Trump addresses the media in Singapore and started his speech with, "We are ready to write a new chapter in US-North Korea history." Trump calls Kim talks "honest, direct and productive." "We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time under very strong, strong circumstances," says US president.

Trump says there is now a hope that the Korean War can be brought to a formal end. "It will soon end. The past does not have to define the future." "Chairman Kim has before him an opportunity like no other to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of prosperity for his people," says Trump.

Reports have claimed that North Korea in the "comprehensive document" signed by Kim and Trump, has committed to complete the process of denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula. The document still has not been made public.

Trump and Kim signed a joint agreement, which the US president dubbed as an "important document." However, details related to the document are still sketchy. "We're signing a very important document, a pretty comprehensive document," Trump said addressing a roomful of reporters who were waiting. He said he would discuss it "at great length" at the news conference at 4 pm, and indicated it would be made available publicly.

Kim said that he wanted to express gratitude to Trump for ensuring that this meeting happened. "We had historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind and we are about to sign the historic document. World will see the change," Kim said.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un addressed a limited number of journalists after a morning of meetings with each other. Trump said, "A lot of goodwill went into this." Kim said, "It's time to leave past behind and the world will see major change."

Reporters asking questions of Trump and whether the statement is a deal is to secure denuclearization: "We're starting that process quickly, very very quickly," Trump says. Then says reporters need to wait "a little while" for further details. Trump declined to specify what exactly the leaders would be signing. Trump said after emerging from hours of talks with Kim on Tuesday in Singapore that "we're going right now for a signing."

Trump and Kim came together for a momentous summit Tuesday that could chart a course for historic peace or raise the specter of a growing nuclear threat. Kim called the sit-down was a "good prelude for peace" as Trump pledged that "working together we will get it taken care of."

In a meeting that seemed unthinkable just months ago, Trump and Kim met with staged ceremony at a Singapore island resort. Before the watching world, they strode toward each other and clasped hands warmly before a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags. The duo then moved into a roughly 40-minute one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters, before including their advisers for additional talks.

Trump and Kim are expected to have a working lunch at around 11.30 am (Singapore time) (9 am IST). Here is the expected summit schedule for the rest of today (all times Singapore — 2 and a half hours ahead of India).

11.30 am: Trump and Kim to have a working lunch
4 pm: Trump will hold press conference
6.30 pm: Trump departs from Capella en route to the airport
7 pm: Trump departs Singapore en route to Washington via Guam

After a 41-minute one-on-one session, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the two leaders are currently discussing bilateral ties, reports have said. Trump is sounding optimistic about his ability to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program after a lengthy one-on-one meeting with Kim. Trump said Tuesday at the beginning of expanded discussions with aides from both countries that "We will solve a big problem" and "a big dilemma."

He talked about the pair achieving “tremendous success together” and predicts that “it will be successful. It will be done.” It was hard to hear the president and Kim over the constant clicking of camera shutters, and it remains unclear precisely what he was referring to.

After the historical handshake, Trump and Kim are onto their 45-minute one-on-one session at the Capella Hotel at Sentosa Island. Trump and leader Kim shared a historic handshake as they meet for the first time. The two clasped hands for a long while Tuesday as they posed for photos in front of a row of U.S. and North Korean flags. Trump then directed Kim to walk down a hallway, where they briefly spoke.

It's the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader. Trump and Kim arrived not long ago on Singapore's Sentosa Island, the site of their unprecedented summit. It's aimed at settling a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

According to the latest reports, both the leaders have reached Sentosa Island. Kim is meeting Trump at the Sentosa Island in another half an hour. Local media earlier reported that Trump and Kim will meet at Capella Hotel at 9 am today. The two leaders are expected to leave their hotels at 8 am (IST 5.30 am) separately, Channel News Asia reports. According to latest reports, Trump has left the Shangri-La Hotel.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met for the first time in Singapore's Sentosa Island on Tuesday.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met for the first time in Singapore's Sentosa Island on Tuesday.

They came with scores of aides, bodyguards and diplomats in tow: Donald Trump from Washington, Kim Jong Un from Pyongyang. But for the better part of an hour, the two men will square off one on one, alone but for a pair of interpreters, raising concerns about the risk of holding such a monumental meeting with barely anyone to bear witness.

After greeting each other for the first time Tuesday in front of reporters, the American president and the North Korean leader will seclude themselves on Singapore's Sentosa Island for roughly 45 minutes while their entourages wait nearby. The intimate huddle will precede a larger meeting and a working lunch attended by Trump's chief of staff, national security adviser and secretary of state, the White House said, along with some of their North Korean counterparts.

For better part of an hour, Trump and Kim will square off one on one, alone but for a pair of translators. That's raising concerns about the risk of holding such a monumental meeting with barely anyone to bear witness.

Trump and Kim will meet on Singapore's Sentosa Island for roughly 45 minutes while their entourages wait nearby. The huddle will come before a larger meeting and a working lunch attended by top advisers to the president and their North Korean counterparts.

After a sudden and welcome turn to diplomacy following last year’s threats, insults and fears of war—remember “fire and fury” and “dotard”?—Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are ready to shake hands, sit down face-to-face and ... do what exactly? Some observers insist that it’s the beginning of the complete denuclearisation of North Korea. No, no, say others, you need to manage your expectations. This is just an elaborate get-to-know-you session, albeit between the two most famous leaders in the world, and nuclear armed at that.

Actually, says another group, there will indeed be disarmament, a peace treaty ending the Korean War and North Korea’s emergence as a contributing member of the international community: But just not right now.

Whatever the results, it will be one of the more unusual summits in recent history as a flamboyant, often erratic US president gets a close-up look at a hereditary socialist despot who sits on a nuclear weapons programme.

Here’s a look at how Tuesday’s first-ever meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States might turn out:

What does success look like?

Success in Singapore would see Kim making a bold decision to exchange his nukes for economic support and security assurances, according to Ryan Haas, an Asia expert at the John L Thornton China Center. Both leaders would offer “clear, specific, unequivocal statements” outlining a dismantlement of North Korean weapons, an inventory and removal of all nuclear fuel and an opening up to UN nuclear inspectors.

Trump has faced intense pressure to win something similar to this.

A group of Opposition Democratic lawmakers in the United States said in a statement that if Trump, a Republican, wants approval for a deal that allows an easing of sanctions on North Korea, he needs to get the permanent dismantlement and removal of “every single one of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons,” end all military nuclear fuel production and missile and nuclear tests, and persuade Pyongyang to “commit to robust compliance inspections including a verification regime for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.”

This is a very high bar and probably unrealistic after one meeting. Laboriously negotiated past nuclear deals, considered breakthroughs at the time, broke down on North Korea’s extreme sensitivity to allowing in outsiders to look at whether they’re dismantling their nuclear facilities, many of which are thought to be hidden.

“While a summit between Trump and Kim would be historic, it is unlikely to be decisive. This is not the fault of either Trump or Kim, but rather a reflection that intractable, decades-long strategic challenges rarely-if ever-get resolved in single encounters,” Haas writes.

Should we lower our expectations?

Probably. In fact, Trump has been doing quite a bit of this lately.

Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Sunday. AP

Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Sunday. AP

What was initially portrayed by the White House as a summit meant to completely rid the North of its nuclear weapons is now being cast as a chance to “start a dialogue” and for Trump the dealmaker to look into the eyes and take the measure of his nuclear-armed antagonist.

Ferial Saeed, a former State Department official, writes that the summit will be a “getting to know you meeting, ‘plus.’ That means, lower your expectations, and that the president is likely to lean toward keeping his own counsel and eschew a script. The ‘plus’ refers to discussions on ending the Korean War.”

China, both Koreas and the United States would have to sign off on any legally binding treaty, so it is unlikely Kim and Trump will do more than express an intention to end the war.

Trump, after meeting recently with a North Korean envoy at the White House, said the summit will likely be part of “a process.”

“I told them today, take your time. We can go fast, we can go slowly,” Trump said. “That is an extraordinary offer of flexibility, considering (North Korea) poses a direct security threat to the United States,” according to Saeed.

In part, these lowered expectations are a reflection of the extreme skepticism among many that the North can be persuaded to give up a nuclear programme it has stubbornly built over the decades, often in secrecy and despite intense sanctions, international condemnation and widespread suffering among its people.

“There is no chance to make North Korean leaders ... surrender their nuclear weapons,” Andrei Lankov, a Korea expert at Seoul’s Kookmin University, wrote recently on a Washington-based Asia newsletter. “They see denuclearisation as a collective suicide (and they are probably right). However, now there are good chances to push North Korean nuclear/missile programme back, for many years perhaps, and keep it that way for some time.”

What if the summit fails?

If things fall apart, it could be because “Trump presents Kim with a hard-and-fast binary choice: Relinquish nuclear weapons and live in peace and prosperity, or cling to them and risk the impoverishment of your people and the safety of your regime,” Haas said.

But a failure on Tuesday doesn’t necessarily mean a return to the animosity of 2017. That’s in part because of South Korea’s diplomatic outreach to the North, which was highlighted by two summits this spring between the rivals’ leaders.

If Trump and Kim fail in Singapore “the result may be to enhance North Korean dependency on Seoul and Beijing as safety valves against the prospect of renewal of U.S.-(North Korea) confrontation,” according to Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “This circumstance in and of itself provides a new buffer against the prospect of military escalation in Korea that was not present at the end of 2017.”


Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 16:28 PM

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