USA won’t discuss North Korea’s human rights records at summit

Pauline Gross
June 11, 2018

Despite the initial high stakes of a summit meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-each-other meeting.

But last month, Trump abruptly cancelled the Singapore summit, citing the "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang.

The official media has reported that the two leaders plan to meet, but has offered few specifics, including where and when.

Mr Lee said that the summit has the potential to set developments on the Korean Peninsula on a "new path" towards denuclearisation.

"I am on my way to Singapore where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World", Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.

Preliminary meetings have already begun. It also annoyed Singapore residents by offering to pay Kim's hotel bill.

Even so, the summit continues to be a sensitive topic in North Korea and it is hard - even more so than usual - to get people to express opinions about it. The leaders are spending the night at hotels about a half-mile apart in the upscale shopping area in Tanglin. Kim is hoping Trump will relieve the economic sanctions that have crippled the North Korean economy.

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Trump initially touted the potential for a grand bargain with North Korea to rid itself of a nuclear missile programme that has advanced rapidly to threaten the United States, insisting he would swiftly achieve what previous USA administrations have failed to do.

At a press conference earlier on Sunday, Loong said that the summit cost approximately $20 million, which is a price the Singapore was "willing to pay". The president also refused to sign a G-7 joint statement pledging cooperation.

The shift coincides with a shakeup on the president's national security team - the addition of national security adviser John Bolton, who has been candid about his view that the North Koreans will never voluntarily give up their nuclear weapons, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman with a hawkish reputation.

It is no easy task. It will take place after some tension, when the nations exchanged insults, and Trump famously called Kim "little rocket man".

That came as Trump threw the Group of Seven's efforts to show a united front into disarray after he became angry with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and said he might double down on import tariffs by hitting the sensitive auto industry.

He said Iran views Mr Trump and the U.S. with "great pessimism", saying they are known for "quitting treaties and violating their commitments".

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