Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Singapore summit: The key moments

Singapore summit: The key moments

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shared a historic handshake as they met for the first time.

Trump and Kim will meet at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island at 9 a.m. Tuesday (9 p.m. Monday ET).

Trump, who is seeking to persuade Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons program, called it "my honor" as he became the first sitting US president to sit down with a North Korean leader.

But when it comes to human rights, don't expect Trump to hold Kim Jong-un's feet to the fire at the Singapore summit. "We're going to have a great discussion, I think, a tremendous success, this will be tremendously successful. And we'll see how far we get, but I'm very optimistic", he continued. "I have no doubt".

Trump entered the Kim summit less than a week after an acrimonious G-7 meeting in which he and longtime American allies argued about trade policy.

"Well, it was not easy to get here. We overcame all that and we are here now".

Trump is to be joined by Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton and a few others.

"I think things could work out very nicely", Trump said in a Tuesday meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Kim also patted Trump, in an attempt to assert control.

At a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, South Korean viewers were reportedly surprised by Kim's Swiss-inflected accent. On the eve of the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with US and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

Karen Leong, Managing Director of Singapore-headquartered Influence Solutions, said the first 60 seconds showed both leaders seeking to take charge in their encounter.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
Singapore summit: The key moments

As for where Kim will spend the night, he's opted for the St. Regis Singapore, where it is believed he has checked into the hotel's $11,500-a-night Presidential Suite. "Many of us are praying for a successful meeting in #Singapore".

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire US 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.

The circus-like atmosphere might be amusing if the stakes weren't so high.

Pompeo laid out some of the USA cards on Monday, saying the administration was sticking to its demand for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the North.

But in return, Washington would offer "different and unique" guarantees "to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them".

The sides first spoke through intelligence channels, with U.S. analysts working to determine Kim's true willingness to abandon a nuclear program started by his grandfather and viewed by Pyongyang as a security blanket from outside aggressors.

Kim and his government are developing missiles that can carry nuclear weapons to the United States of America and have denounced Trump as a blustery "dotard".

Pompeo acknowledged that the North has a track record for making lofty promises in past negotiations only to renege, sometimes years later. Pompeo held firm to Trump's position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes - and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

"Wide-ranging and profound views on the issue of establishing new DPRK-US relations, the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, the issue of actualizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern" will be discussed, state-run KCNA reported early Monday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines who has taken the lead on policy negotiations with the North, will hold a "working group" with a North Korean delegation to discuss final preparations for the meeting. At the same time, he'd admitted he doesn't believe he requires extensive preparation to take stock of Kim.

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