Trump, Kim shake hands at momentous summit

12 June, 2018, 09:25 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • The menu for a working lunch served to U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and their delegations during their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore

The White House announced Monday that Trump would leave Singapore Tuesday night after meeting with Kim, adding that talks between US and North Korean officials "are ongoing and have moved more quickly than expected".

The two clasped hands for a long while as they posed for photos in front of a row of US and North Korean flags. Yes, kind words, yes, they're meeting.

In September a year ago Trump took to Twitter amid an ongoing spat with North Korean policy makers, calling Kim Jong Un a "madman".

"We're going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success. And it's my honour and we will have a terrific relationship I have no doubt".

Kim smiled as he heard the translator interpret the president's remarks, before weighing in with a brief statement of his own.

Kim and his regime have made no secret that nuclear weapons are the key to North Korea's survival yet Mr Trump has made equally clear that he will not tolerate the development of a deadly arsenal that could strike the U.S. mainland.

"We overcame all kinds of scepticism and speculations about this summit and I believe that this is good for the peace", he said.

Trump has said he hopes to make a legacy-defining deal for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though he has recently sought to manage expectations, saying more than one meeting may be necessary.

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Hours before his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump took to Twitter to blast those criticising the summit. "And he said, 'Hey, Dennis, I would like to ask you three things. And it's my honor to be involved". His sessions with Kim amounted to the most robust contact ever between the United States and the North Korean leader, providing critical information about a man about whom little is known.

The circus-like atmosphere might be amusing if the stakes weren't so high.

At a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, South Korean viewers were reportedly surprised by Kim's Swiss-inflected accent. But he also patted the USA president' arm, in an attempt to show control over the encounter.

There was another handshake as they sat down for their working lunch with top aides and an exchange of niceties across the table.

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

It is also unclear whether US officials will raise human rights issues in meetings with the North Koreans.

Pompeo laid out some of the USA cards on Monday, saying the administration was sticking to its demand for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the North.

Beyond the impact on both leaders' political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people - the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North's nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.

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