Published: Thu, June 14, 2018

Trump to depart from Singapore one day early

Trump to depart from Singapore one day early

But there's reason to suspect that it is because they are barely moving at all.

For all the upbeat talk, it remained to be seen what, if any, concrete results the sit-down would produce.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials would hold follow-up negotiations "at the earliest possible date", the statement said.

At the conclusion of the summit, President Trump will participate in a media availability before departing tomorrow at approximately 8 p.m. for the United States. For his part, Kim hailed the "historic meeting" and said they "decided to leave the past behind". "We overcame all that and we are here now".

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening "fire and fury" against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a "mentally deranged US dotard".

Hatred of the United States is helped by the very real memories among older North Koreans of the brutal bombing campaign waged against their country by the United States during the Korean war, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and cities leveled between June 1950 and July 1953.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump arrived in tropical Singapore yesterday for the first ever face-to-face meeting by leaders of two countries that have been enemies since the 1950-1953 Korean War. Kim has been accused of horrific rights abuses against his people. While aboard Air Force One, the president also tweeted out a plug for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ahead of the state's Tuesday primary.

So far, the USA has offered no indication that it has reached a substantive preliminary agreement with North Korea on how to achieve the "complete and verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization that Pompeo reconfirmed on Monday the U.S. is seeking.

Trump yesterday met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), was feted at lunch with an early birthday cake (his birthday is Thursday), and then went back to his hotel, the Shangri-La.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee. The White House says that this change of plans is a product of talks moving more quickly than expected.

A TV screen shows newsreader Ri Chun-hee announcing the arrival of Kim Jong-un in Singapore, during an evening bulletin in Pyongyang.

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

The public will quickly find out how Trump viewed the summit.

He joined Singapore's foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, who tweeted a selfie with a smiling Kim and Singapore Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, against a backdrop of flowers with the hashtag #Guesswhere. Sources told Axios that measure was conditional upon what Kim was willing to give the return. As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.

Imagine if President George W. Bush had met Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for face-to-face negotiations in January 2003 in Egypt instead of the USA -led invasion going ahead two months later and you get a sense of how remarkable this summit is. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake. But U.S. officials have since avoided such lofty declarations.

"I can only say this", Pompeo said. USA officials scheduled to take part in Tuesday's expanded meeting will include Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Such treats are unheard of for most North Koreans, even for government officials, who have seen their chances of overseas travel wither in recent years as their country's isolation has increased under sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs.

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