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Kim Jong Un goes for surprise nighttime walk ahead of summit

Kim Jong Un goes for surprise nighttime walk ahead of summit

In the run-up to Tuesday's historic face-to-face with Kim, Trump has appeared unconcerned about the implications of feting an authoritarian leader suspected of ordering the public assassination of his half-brother with a nerve agent, executing his uncle by firing squad and presiding over a notorious gulag estimated to hold 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners.

The US has offered North Korea "unique" security guarantees to persuade it to give up its nuclear arsenal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, on the eve of a historic summit in Singapore. "We'll have a great discussion", Trump said at the beginning of the meeting. Moon Jae-in, South Korea's president, said after the meeting had started: "Perhaps the minds of our people are on Singapore".

The sense of fun in the reporting is also a contrast with the more sober way in which the North Korean media would usually handle an official trip. Trump left that summit early and, as he flew to Singapore, tweeted that he was yanking the USA out of the group's traditional closing statement.

Karen Leong, Managing Director of Singapore-headquartered Influence Solutions, said Trump did not display any of the hostility seen at the G7 summit in Canada last week, during which the U.S. leader blasted allies including the European Union and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade.

The Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the Workers' Party, also featured his departure in a full-color two-page spread, declaring on the front page that he was leaving in a Chinese plane for a "historic summit" with the USA president.

There was another handshake as they sat down for their working lunch with top aides and an exchange of niceties across the table.

Pompeo said the meeting could provide "an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity" to North Korea.

Kim Yo Jong, believed to be 30 and one of the North Korean leader's closest confidants, reportedly arrived at Singapore's Changi Airport about an hour after the despot's Chinese charter plane touched down.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
Kim Jong Un goes for surprise nighttime walk ahead of summit

Previously, Trump had derided Kim as "Little Rocket Man" and pledged to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to make nuclear threats.

He added he would know within minutes whether Kim was serious about negotiating away his nuclear weapons and has threatened to politely walk out if Kim doesn't meet his expectations.

Tweeting from his hotel room in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday, Trump sought to heighten the suspense.

While there has been a wave of bipartisan voices looking to support the president's efforts to avert war in the Korean peninsula, there have also been concerns in foreign policy circles that the meeting will elevate Kim's status as a brutal dictator overseeing a regime complicit in horrendous human-rights abuses. Global inspections and verification of such a deal would require more openness from the North, typically allergic to outside scrutiny.

The White House declared Monday that the talks "have moved more quickly than expected" and said Trump planned to depart later Tuesday, earlier than had been expected.

Following an on-camera greeting, the pair will begin the summit with a one-on-one meeting with only their translators, according to a senior Trump administration official.

"This soon after leads to uncertainty and ultimately to heightened tension regarding who was to blame for the breakdown of progress", said Lopez, who served on a United Nations panel for monitoring sanctions on North Korea.





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