Final preparations begin for Trump-Kim high-stakes summit

Blanche Robertson
June 14, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore Sunday for a historic summit with President Donald Trump - and running alongside his motorcade were his detachment of bodyguards. Trump travelled to Singapore from Canada, where he attended a meeting with other world leaders.

The top United States and North Korean negotiators held a last-ditch meeting in Singapore on Monday to try to narrow the gap between the two sides on what denuclearisation by North Korea should look like. The summit plan had received little coverage in North Korea in the months' long lead-up, but was featured as the top story in the state run newspapers and television broadcasts a day ahead of the unprecedented meeting. Trump descended from Air Force One into the steamy Singapore night, greeting officials and declaring he felt "very good" before being whisked away to his hotel via a route lined with police and photo-snapping onlookers.

Trump arrived a few hours after Kim on Air Force One, directly from a tumultuous G7 summit in Quebec, which ended in a bitter personal exchange between the U.S. president and the host, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

By prominently showing the Air China jet that flew Kim to Singapore, the reports also made no secret of China's important role behind the scenes. That might not bode so well for Trump, who has expressed some concern about China's influence.

However, he played down the possibility of a quick breakthrough and said the summit, which gets underway on Tuesday at 9am (11am AEST) should set the framework for "the hard work that will follow", insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

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The two leaders discussed relations between their countries, developments in North Korea and the region, including recent positive developments on the Korean peninsula, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

What exactly it has in mind for any of those broad topics remains to be seen.

On Saturday evening, after leaving early to head to Singapore, Trump said he was pulling out of the summit's joint communique because of comments by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"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. Lee complimented the bold and admirable decision by Kim and Trump to come together for the summit.

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