Summit day in Singapore: Excitement high, expectations lower

Evarado Alatorre
Junio 14, 2018

Trump will meet with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, according to a press release from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Broad smiles and a firm handshake kicked off the first meeting between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as Singapore prepares to host a historic summit whose twists and turns have enraptured the world.

U.S. and North Korean officials are meeting Monday at the Ritz Carlton in this island city-state to negotiate before a sit-down meant to settle a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

The relative speed with which the state media got the news of Kim's arrival in Singapore out to the North Korean public suggests a certain level of confidence that the meeting will go well - or at least well enough.

"People call it a historic summit is important to understand that this summit was available to any USA president who wanted to do it and the point is no United States president wanted to do this, and for good reasons", said Christopher Hill, a former lead U.S. nuclear negotiator with North Korea.

They are due to meet tomorrow to discuss North Korea's nuclear arsenal and Washington's demand for a complete denuclearisation.

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 meeting was initially meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, but the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session.

U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill center speaks to the press at a hotel in Beijing China Sunday Dec. 7 2008. President Donald Trump's Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un may be unprecedented but during
Will Kim Jong-un make it out of Singapore?

Instead, North Korea's capital was like the calm in the center of a storm. Again accusing the longtime U.S. ally of unfair trade practices, Trump added: "Then Justin acts hurt when called out!"

Under Kim, Pyongyang has made rapid progress in its weapons technology, carrying out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date past year and launching missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. 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.

For the pariah state, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is a situation in which North Korea gives up nukes if the USA ends its alliances in Asia, its policy of extended deterrence and ground troops on the peninsula, Victor Cha, a Georgetown University professor and senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said at a Washington event on Monday.

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

It's Kim's pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Trump such high stakes.

Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea's willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country's warheads and nuclear fuel, much of which is likely kept in a vast complex of underground facilities.

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