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Trump Admits 'Unknown Territory' Awaits in Kim Summit

11 June 2018

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - With all the global attention focused on Singapore and the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang must have been buzzing with excitement on the eve of the leaders' arrival, right?

Hours earlier, Trump had claimed his relationship with Trudeau and the leaders of France and Germany "is a 10" and slammed a CNN reporter as "fake news" for suggesting the US' ties with its closest allies had frayed.

While Singapore has authoritarian leanings, it is still a thriving bastion of capitalism and wealth, and Kim will be performing his high-stakes diplomatic tight-rope walk in front of 3,000 global journalists, including a huge contingent from the ultra-aggressive South Korean press - sometimes referred to by Pyongyang as "reptile media" - two of whom were arrested by Singapore police investigating a report of trespassing at the residence of the North Korean ambassador.

Previous agreements with the North have subsequently collapsed and experts warn Kim is highly unlikely to give up the "treasured sword" of his nuclear deterrent.

"The entire world is focusing on the historic summit between the DPRK (North Korea) and the U.S., and thanks to your honest efforts".

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

It was only Monday morning North Korea time that the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, reported Kim was in Singapore, had met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and would meet Trump on Tuesday.

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.

Later, a meeting including officials could last another hour.

There has been widespread speculation about Kim's rare trip out of the North, where he enjoys supreme power. While Trump will be a guest at the Shangri-La Hotel during his stay in the City-State, Kim will be a resident of the St Regis Hotel barely a kilometre away.

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Bodyguards in dark suits jogged alongside his limousine. A throng of journalists stood outside the hotel.

Singapore, the city state has become Singapore, the summit state.

The North Korean leader shook hands with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan shortly after arriving at Singapore's Chagi airport.

There's just no recent precedent for the gamble Kim Jong Un is taking. There's a flurry of speculation about what results might come from the summit.

The initial goal was the "complete denuclearisation" of the North.

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Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea's willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country's warheads and radioactive materials, much of which is likely kept in a vast complex of underground facilities.

After North Korea carried out a series of long-range missile tests that potentially put the United States mainland in range of a nuclear strike, Trump promised to respond with "fire and fury".

Kim may be interested in getting aid and eventual investment to stabilize and then rebuild a crumbling economy.

A USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday's meeting appeared aimed at making 11th-hour progress ahead of the summit since Sung Kim's earlier talks did little to narrow a gap between the two sides on the definition of denuclearisation or win agreement on tangible commitments from Pyongyang toward dismantling its nuclear arsenal.

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The coalition force was conducting a "multi-day operation" to clear al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, from nearby villages. It was pushed out of Mogadishu in recent years but continues to control rural areas in the south and central regions.

Trump Admits 'Unknown Territory' Awaits in Kim Summit