Kim and Trump’s strange games
DONALD Trump and Kim Jong-un were never going to have a conventional meeting, but the headstrong pair have already dropped some bombshells as they prepare for their summit.
The two leaders will appear for a much-anticipated greeting in front of the media on Tuesday at 9am in Singapore (11am AEST), but the photo op will be followed by an hour-long, one-on-one meeting with only their translators.
It's an unusual and frustrating move for a world hanging on every detail of their interaction, and has caused fears among security experts of a he-said-she-said scenario.
The intimate tete-a-tete at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island will then give way to a bilateral meeting with top officials from both countries, followed by a working lunch with an even larger group.
In another unexpected twist, the US President revealed on the eve of the summit that he will leave Singapore a day earlier than planned, after nuclear negotiations moved "more quickly than expected."
The pair had not even met when he made the announcement, although US and North Korean officials spent Monday setting goals and possible outcomes at the Ritz Carlton hotel.
Mr Trump will participate in a media briefing after the summit before departing in the evening for the United States.
On Monday evening, Kim left his luxury St Regis hotel for the first time since he met the city-state's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong after his arrival on Sunday. The North Korean leader - who rarely travels - was surrounded by security guards, a media scrum and cheering crowds as he embarked on an evening tour of attractions on the city's waterfront.
Kim's motorcade headed to the world-famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel, before he and his sister Kim Yo-jong visited the Esplanade, Jubilee Bridge and the Gardens by the Bay, where the reclusive leader posed for selfies with Singaporean government officials.
Mr Trump met with Mr Lee on Monday and attended a working lunch, telling the Singaporean PM: "We've got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely."
The US President was presented with an early birthday cake and blew out the candles ahead of his 72nd on June 14, before returning to the Shangri-La Hotel to work.
The US delegation at the larger meeting on Tuesday will include Mr Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Ambassador Sung Kim, and National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger will attend the working lunch.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in Singapore at around midnight, hours before Tuesday morning's summit. The White House said he would play no official role in negotiations, but the athlete has promised to "give whatever support is needed" to his "friends" Mr Trump and Kim.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier seemed to play down expectations for the meeting, which Mr Trump had predicted could yield an instant end to the Korean War.
Mr Trump called the leaders of South Korea and Japan in advance of the summit but South Korean President Moon Jae-in would have to be present if a declaration ending the conflict was to be signed, and he has no current plans to join Mr Trump and Kim.
Mr Pompeo suggested the summit might have little concrete success other than to pave the way for further meetings.
The Secretary of State told reporters the US was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with "sufficient certainty" that denuclearisation "is not something that ends badly for them."
He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing troops from the Korean Peninsula, but stressed the discussions were "radically different than ever before"
He said the US was "prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique, than America's been willing to provide previously."
Mr Trump has already made it clear the summit is a "one-time shot" and said he would know within minutes of meeting Kim whether an agreement was going to be reached or not. But he also said the summit would be part of a "process".
He told reporters he hadn't prepared "very much" because, "I will know, just my touch, my feel. That's what I do."
Asked on Saturday about his aims, he said: "Well, I think the minimum would be relationship. You would start at least a dialogue, because, you know, as a deal person, I have done very well with deals."
The North has faced crippling international sanctions as it has developed its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
There is deep scepticism over whether Kim will easily abandon his nuclear weapons program, but experts hope diplomacy can replace the animosity between the US and the Hermit Kingdom.
With the summit already dramatically cancelled and reinstated, anything appears to be possible from this clash of two unpredictable men.
Mr Trump also made an unexpected exit from the Group of 7 meeting in Canada, insulting host Justin Trudeau and removing the US from the group statement.
Thank you Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong! pic.twitter.com/8MMYGuOj8Q— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 June 2018