Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Kim Jong Un brings his own toilet to summit with Trump

This image provided by Yonhap News TV shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore This image provided by Yonhap News TV shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore
Steven Clarke | 14 June, 2018, 03:57

In the hours before the summit began, Trump expressed optimism about prospects for the first-ever meeting of sitting USA and North Korean leaders, while Pompeo injected a note of caution whether Kim would prove to be honest about his willingness to denuclearise.

The US President went for a lunch earlier today with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and even celebrated his birthday a couple of days early with a cake.

But for Trump, even if Kim submits to an open-ended, unverified commitment to "complete denuclearization", it'll become apparent sooner or later that it was North Korea that ended up getting the better end of the deal - and that's even before we get to other topics on the U.S.

A South Korean parliamentary source said negotiators from both countries "were debating over whether to put [the term] CVID" in the joint communique to be released after the summit. The White House said Trump will address reporters on Tuesday before flying back to the US.

Some experts said Kim's city tour suggests that North Korea and the US had narrowed their differences ahead of the summit. But the White House said he will instead leave at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday -almost 15 hours earlier.

The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on the way back to Washington.

Singapore's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan posted a selfie with the Kim on Monday night as he took the North Korean dictator on a tour of some of the city's landmarks.

"I'm very optimistic we will have a successful outcome with the two leaders", he said.

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In his public statements, Mr. Trump has shown gradually greater flexibility toward North Korea, saying he viewed its disarmament as a "process", rather than something to be done all at once, and disavowing the phrase "maximum pressure", after making it the centerpiece of his policy. "Kim must not see American weakness". But North Korea's nuclear ambitions are the effect, not the cause, of confrontation on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump and Kim are slated to meet for "up to two hours" in private, with their translators present, before expanding the ambit of the summit to incorporate their respective lieutenants. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the plans and insisted on anonymity. Summits are positive indicators for war risks but are largely symbolic in that they do not necessarily point to a shift in motivations and interests and are unlikely to involve the concrete and actionable measures that are decided in working-level meetings.

As he was trying to build a bridge with Kim, he was smashing longtime alliances with Western allies with his abrasive performance at the G-7.

There will not be a repeat of "flimsy agreements" made between previous U.S. administrations and North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Singapore on Monday.

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing USA troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was "radically different than ever before".

"I can only say this", Pompeo said.

Michael Kovrig, a senior adviser for northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, said Pompeo's comment that Trump "recognised Chairman Kim's desire for security" signalled that the United States may offer formal security guarantees to Pyongyang in exchange for nuclear disarmament.

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