Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un

Ivan Schwartz
June 12, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un succeeded in appearing like President Donald Trump's equal during the first historic encounter between the two leaders on Tuesday, according to South Korean media.

But they were soon smiling and holding each other by the arm, before Trump guided Kim to the library where they held a meeting with only their interpreters.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.

The pair made brief remarks as they sat together before the world's media as the historic summit got under way, with the U.S. leader insisting "we will have a terrific relationship I have no doubt". On the eve of the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with USA and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

Some critics questioned the pomp surrounding the Singapore summit, saying it unduly elevated North Korea's rogue regime.

Citing the return of American hostages and a suspension of North Korean nuclear testing, Trump said that "these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say!"

The face-to-face meeting was "very, very good", the United States leader said after the talks.

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The historic handshake between Trump and Kim is to occur Tuesday on the 12-hectare grounds of the luxurious Capella Hotel on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa.

Following their meeting, President Trump will hold a media availability with reporters as Kim Jong Un departs back to North Korea.

One US official said the two sides were working to craft a joint US-North Korea "statement of understanding" that could be released after the talks. During his stroll, crowds yelled out Kim's name and jostled to take pictures, and the North Korean leader posed for a selfie with Singapore officials. Speaking with reporters beforehand, Trump was buoyant about the meeting's prospects, predicting that the two would share a "tremendously successful" discussion.

Still, they said, the initial Trump-Kim summit could at least yield an agreement to keep negotiating.

The talks - unimaginable just a few months ago - will focus on North Korea's controversial nuclear programme.

In a video footage, Trump was seen leaving the Paya Lebar Air Base tarmac in the Presidential Beast, a vehicle that is flown around the globe for a US President's visits. Worldwide inspections and verification of such a deal would require more openness from the North, typically allergic to outside scrutiny.

Pompeo is scheduled to immediately fly to Seoul and Beijing after the summit to brief South Korean allies and Chinese officials on the discussions, reflecting the reality than any solutions in the region will need buy-in from those nations. I asked him, I said I have something to say from North Korea, and he brushed me off.

Other reports by GizPress

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