“The worst case scenario would be if President Trump came into the summit and presented an ultimatum demanding complete and verifiable denuclearization”, said James Trottier, a former Canadian diplomat who led several missions to Pyongyang.
Most observers predicted that the outcome would be a short and vague statement build around the ambiguous aim of the “denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” leaving it to later bilateral meetings to negotiate what that would mean in practice. The news covered the front page of the ruling party’s newspaper and was the top – and only – item on the first news broadcast of the day on Korean Central Television, which for many North Koreans is the only channel available.
Choi’s fiery outburst at Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence had a fortnight ago been blamed for Trump suddenly, and briefly, cancelling the summit.
Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Trump said: “Very good”. “It’s about attitude, it’s about willingness to get things done”.
Some people were grumbling in the wealthy city-state because of the traffic jams caused by the summit and the cost of hosting two leaders with massive security needs.
“It’s important that the Trump administration approach this summit with a realistic perspective about what can be accomplished”.
Since then, USA and North Korean diplomats have been trying to bridge the gap between the two countries’ definition of denuclearization.
“I bet the North will not abandon nuclear weapons”, he said, adding that the USA and its allies should use both “carrots and sticks” to force the North to do so.
On the streets, Kim and Trump impersonators thrilled around 100 fans who paid $10 to take selfies at Bugis Junction mall at the weekend.
The North Korean leader has reportedly already invited Trump for a second summit in Pyongyang in July provided the first round of talks go well. But it’s unclear what that security guarantee would entail. That might not bode so well for Mr. Trump, who has expressed some concern about China’s influence. With this in mind, coming up with a clear timeline going forward could also be key to success.
Mr Kim’s itinerary was reported in detail, which is a rarity for the state’s media, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
One benefit of Singapore from the North Korean point of view is that there will probably not be any anti-North Korea protests during Kim’s stay.
Though Trump has been criticized for his failure to demand more concessions from North Korea before agreeing to a face-to-face meeting, which experts say gives Kim the sort of legitimacy on the worldwide stage he desires, downplaying expectations does two things. Pyongyang has demonstrated willingness to pursue these options in recent weeks, inviting journalists to witness the demolition of a nuclear testing site and destroying missile launch stands. “I’ll tell you what the Marshall wants more than anything”.
A third summit could then take place in Washington in September.
OptimistsLee Hye-ji, a 31-year-old housewife, was “hopeful” about the Trump-Kim meeting, adding she was less interested in denuclearisation than a declaration that the Korean War was over, 65 years after hostilities stopped with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.
Experts believe the North is on the brink of being able to target the entire USA mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there’s deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there’s also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the United States and the North.