Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

N. Korean, U.S. officials try narrowing differences before summit

N. Korean, U.S. officials try narrowing differences before summit

The social media platform has released various hashtags for the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

With gaps remaining over what denuclearisation would entail, officials from both sides were trying to push the agenda forward ahead of Tuesday's summit.

A United States official said Monday that after a handshake scheduled for 9 am Tuesday, Trump and Kim will first meet one on one with translators in a session that could last up to two hours before they open the meeting to their respective advisers.

"When I woke up this morning I saw the news in the newspaper that our respected Marshal went to Singapore for the North Korea-U.S. summit", said Han Il Gwang, a Pyongyang resident, displaying typical discretion when speaking to an Associated Press Television crew.

The two men will be joined later by their closest aides, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the official said. For the North, Kim Jong Un has already won a huge propaganda bonus by merely having the summit and sitting down as an equal with the USA president, an accomplishment his father and grandfather sought but could never realize. The nation also has repaired ties with China after a setback in late 2016, a shift reinforced by Lee's visit to Beijing in April.

State media in North Korea on Monday (Jun 11) covered Kim Jong Un's arrival in Singapore in a news bulletin.

Discussions would focus on "the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern", KCNA said. "And he has that opportunity, and he won't have that opportunity again", Trump said.

The mercurial USA leader has whipsawed on expectations for the meeting, signalling that it could be the beginning of a "process" of several meetings, only to call it a "one-time shot" for peace as he embarked for Singapore.

North Korea has so far presented Kim's sudden diplomatic overtures to his neighbors and to the United States as a logical next step following what Kim has claimed is the completion of his plan to develop a credible nuclear deterrent to what Pyongyang has long claimed is a policy of hostility and "nuclear blackmail" by Washington.

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Trump and other top US officials have promised a "bright future" for the North if it quickly relinquishes its nuclear weapons - including economic inducements and a security agreement.

A screengrab from North Korean media showing Kim Jong Un's meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Trump has sought to lower expectations for the summit in recent days, suggesting that it would be the start of a lengthy process to get Pyongyang to begin dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Ahead of his much-anticipated meeting with Kim, the US President sounded optimistic and said the meeting would be a "one-time shot" at peace.

In March, Trump surprised the world by accepting an invitation from Kim to meet in person.

Trump, 71, landed at Paya Lebar Airbase on board Air Force One after cutting short his time at the G7 summit in Canada.

Security around Kim's hotel was extremely tight and guests were prohibited from going in and out, hours before Kim's black Mercedes Benz limousine cruised in.

Kim's meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was also covered in the seven-minute news bulletin.

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