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North Korea leader Kim arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump meeting

11 June 2018

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman praised President Donald Trump for his negotiating skills ahead of the historic meeting between the president and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

"North Korea can not denuclearise completely right now and hope to be safe from a president who said we're going to rain fire and fury on you, from a country that's been calling you evil for 25 years", said Horacio Falcao, a negotiations expert at the INSEAD graduate business school in Singapore. But he says if diplomacy fails to move in the right direction, the sanctions "will increase".

The diplomacy is an extraordinary turnaround from a year ago, when Trump threatened the North with "fire and fury" and Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged USA dotard". He said that those talks "in fact are moving quite rapidly and will come to a logical conclusion more quickly than anticipated".

Trump and Kim are set to meet on Tuesday at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa for talks which could see North Korea dismantle its nuclear arsenal in return for economic help and security guarantees.

North Korea wants a staged approach to dismantling its nuclear weapons program and a security guarantee from the USA in return.

Another possibility from the summit is a deal to end the Korean War, which North Korea has long demanded, presumably, in part, to get United States troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea.

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He told Lee "we have a very interesting meeting tomorrow and I think things can work out very nicely".

A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USA side was entering the talks with a sense of optimism and an equal dose of scepticism given North Korea's long history of developing nuclear weapons.

Outside the Istana, the presidential palace where Trump met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, well-wishers displayed American flags and a boy held up a sign reading: "I love President Trump!".

Kim Yo Jong, leader Kim's younger sister, was also spotted in his delegation.

At the hotel lobby, grim-faced North Korean security guards warned other hotel guests not to take pictures as Kim walked to his Mercedes Benz limousine.

During the meeting, the officials also celebrated Trump's birthday. "Why would Kim. believe any commitments President Trump makes when he arbitrarily tears up an agreement with which the other party is complying?" said Antony Blinken, who was deputy secretary of state under Barack Obama.

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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.

The summit will be the first meeting between Trump and Kim and mark a turnaround of relations between the two leaders after a long-running exchange of furious threats and insults.

Kim is now scheduled to leave Singapore around 2pm on Tuesday with Trump departing on Wednesday morning.

"We were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit, and I would like to thank you for that", Kim, speaking through an interpreter, told Lee.

But he has since lowered expectations, backing away from an original demand for North Korea's swift denuclearization.

The tests culminated in November's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea said could reach the entirety of the United States.

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Earlier Trump had said the meeting was a "one-time shot" for Kim.

North Korea leader Kim arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump meeting