Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | ePaper

Kim Jong arrives in Singapore for historic summit with Trump

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AFP, Singapore :
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore Sunday for an unprecedented summit with Donald Trump, an attempt to address the last festering legacy of the Cold War, with the US president calling it a "one time shot" at peace.
Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal-which has seen it subjected to several sets of UN Security Council sanctions and threatened with military action by the Trump administration-will top the agenda.
Bringing the Korean War to a formal end 65 years after hostilities ceased will also be on the table at the first-ever summit between a North Korean leader and a sitting president of its "imperialist enemy".
Kim arrived in Singapore on board an Air China 747 that according to flight tracking website Flightradar24 took off from Pyongyang in the morning ostensibly bound for Beijing, then changed its flight number midair and headed south.
The city-state's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with Kim at Changi Airport, and the North Korean leader was driven into the centre in a stretch Mercedes-Benz limousine, accompanied by a convoy of more than 20 vehicles.
Kim was due to meet Singaporean President Lee Hsien Loong later on Sunday, the city-state's foreign ministry said, while Trump was flying from Canada on board Air Force One after leaving the G7 summit early.
Authorities imposed tight security around the summit venue and related luxury hotels-including installing extra pot plants outside Kim's expected accommodation to obstruct reporters' views.
Tuesday's Singapore meeting is the climax of the astonishing flurry of diplomacy on and around the Korean peninsula this year, but critics charge that it risks being largely a triumph of style over substance.
Washington is demanding the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation (CVID) of the North, while Pyongyang has so far only made public pledges of its commitment to the denuclearisation of the peninsula-a term open to wide interpretation-while seeking security guarantees.
Former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage expected little progress on the key issue of defining denuclearisation.
"The success will be in the shutter clicks of the cameras," he said. "They both get what they want."
Trump insisted last week that the summit would "not be just a photo op", saying it would help forge a "good relationship" that would lead to a "process" towards the "ultimate making of a deal".
But as he embarked for Singapore he changed his tune, calling it a "one-time shot" and adding he will know "within the first minute" whether an agreement will be possible.
"If I think it won't happen, I'm not going to waste my time," he said.
He has also dangled the prospect of Kim Jong Un visiting Washington if the meeting goes well.

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