Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump, Lee to hold bilateral meetings, working lunch today

Trump, Lee to hold bilateral meetings, working lunch today

Trump arrived in Singapore calling the summit a "one-time shot" for Kim, who is being urged to abandon his weapons program and normalize relations with the rest of the world in exchange for unspecified "protections" from the U.S. North Korea has long anxious about an American invasion and justifies its nuclear buildup as a way to defend itself.

Singapore has spent $S20 million hosting the summit, half of that on security costs, with Lee saying it was "in our profound interest" to contribute to such an worldwide endeavour.

Kim, who met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday after arriving, thanked him for hosting the event.

On his way to Asia from the G7 meeting in Canada, Trump said he was embarking on a "mission of peace", predicting he'll know "within the first minute" if Kim is serious about negotiating.

She said Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines, who has taken the lead on policy negotiations with the North, was set to hold a working group with a North Korean delegation at 10 a.m. Monday.

Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim recognition as the leader of a "normal" country and as an equal of the U.S. leader.

Kim and Trump both arrived in Singapore a few hours apart on Sunday.

Kim met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee at his Istana residence after his arrival, in talks which North Korea's KCNA news agency said proceeded "in an amicable and friendly atmosphere". "We have to get denuclearisation, we have to get something going".

Earlier this month, Singapore's defense minister said the USA trade threats were as disruptive to the global order as China's military deployments in the disputed South China Sea.

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If the North Korean leader does indeed agree to completely abandon his country's nuclear weapons programme, Trump is expected to ease sanctions on the hermit kingdom and pave the way for much-needed foreign direct investment in the country.

"It's never been done before", Trump said of a U.S.

Trump had called Kim "Little Rocket Man" and threatened to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea as it conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of worldwide warnings.

The US president was accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Despite the initial high stakes of a meeting meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know meeting. Forging a peace treaty involving South Korea may be another topic of the Trump-Kim meeting.

Pyongyang has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits. 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.

The meeting, held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore Marina Bay district, lasted about two hours, and delegates from both sides appeared expressionless as they left, a South China Morning Post reporter at the scene said.

A second round of meetings was planned for the afternoon as officials worked to lay the groundwork for progress to be made Tuesday on substantive issues, according to the official familiar with the preparations.

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