Trump, Kim arrive at summit venue for historic US-North Korea meeting

Trump, Kim arrive at summit venue for historic US-North Korea meeting

The summit is a product of months of diplomacy, going back to the meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the end of March.

Heavy security and armed police are standing guard at summit-related venues across the city state. A working lunch is also scheduled for 11.30am with Kim due to leave Singapore at 2pm.

The first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader was to kick off at 9 a.m. Tuesday with a handshake, an image sure to be devoured from Washington to Pyongyang and beyond.

During a quarter-century of on-off negotiations, human rights have played second fiddle for USA administrations seeking to ameliorate the threat posed by the North's nukes, and there's a reason.

The eccentric former reality television star is one of the few westerners to have spent time with Kim during multiple visits to Pyongyang and the two struck up an unlikely friendship over their shared love of basketball.

"Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly....but in the end, that doesn't matter".

Last year, it would have been a rare sight to see a North Korean flag flying anywhere in Asia.

Outside the Korean community, local peace groups called for the United States government to allow North and South Korea to negotiate a deal for peace on their own.

In the same statement, the White House said the talks between U.S. and North Korean officials were moving "more quickly than expected", though didn't elaborate on what precisely that meant for Trump's stated goal of securing North Korea's complete and verifiable denuclearization.

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In addition to discussing denuclearization with Kim, Trump has also left open the possibility of declaring an end to the Korean War.

Trump and Kim are staying in separate hotels less that a kilometre apart in the famous Orchard Road area of Singapore, dotted with high-rise luxury apartment blocks, offices and glittering shopping malls.

In extraordinary scenes, Kim smiled as he walked and waved towards the crowd of tourists, families and media as a "woo" went up.

On May 10, Trump announced that he would meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore. "If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable".

Throughout the day, Trump and Kim's body language was openly friendly, a striking warmth given Kim's iron grip on power and dismal record on human rights. Missile tests, nuclear tests, and sinking a South Korean warship followed, causing the United Nations to impose even tougher sanctions. He said that Trump "fully understands" the need to bring home the abductees, adding that Trump "is one of the leaders who understands the issue the most".

The teen's abduction has become symbolic of the issue, and Trump spoke about her during his address at the U.N. General Assembly in September.

Mr Trump famously vowed to unleash "fire and fury" if Pyongyang kept threatening the US. But he acknowledged the effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear arsenal was in its early stages. After meeting privately and with aides, Trump and Kim moved into the luncheon at a long flower-bedecked table.

Still, the road to the Singapore talks has been far from smooth. It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening "fire and fury" against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a "mentally deranged USA dotard". Only after that initial personal session will national security officials join the meeting.

The insult came after North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said the country may test a powerful nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean - a retaliation to Trump's earlier threats of military force.

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