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'Don't expect too much': Rodman plays down Kim Trump breakthrough

14 June 2018

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are meeting in Singapore to discuss a peace treaty and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But he added: "In the end, that doesn't matter".

However, he noted that a single summit would not be sufficient for a successful denuclearisation.

Amateur body language analysts noted that Trump is being more physical than Kim.

The Trump administration has largely continued what it calls its "maximum pressure" campaign on the North, but has moved toward a softer tone as the summit approached.

The rapid improvement in relations between the North and South Korea - technically still at war - culminated with a historic leaders' summit in April. The unlikely images of USA and North Korean counterparts engaging in friendly dialogue lent the day an air of unreality.

The two clasped hands for a long while Tuesday as they posed for photos in front of a row of US and North Korean flags. Analysts say Kim's diplomatic outreach in recent months after a flurry of nuclear and missile tests in 2017 indicates he is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the global legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide.

For all the upbeat talk, it was an open question what, if any, concrete results the sit-down would produce.

Pointing out that the Rodong Sinmun goes simultaneously out to the global and domestic audience, NK Pro analyst Fyodor Tertitskiy says that the article will send "quite a positive message because the North Korean leadership at least state they are prepared to learn from foreign nations' experience and that they are focused on achieving economic prosperity". By contrast, Trump appeared to back off a military footing on Tuesday, declaring the U.S. will stop the "war games", an apparent reference to joint military exercises with South Korea that North Korea has long rebuked as provocative.

In 2014, Trump tweeted dismissively about the possibility that he and Rodman would someday travel to North Korea together.

Dinner plans were abandoned by reporters, including this correspondent, as they raced to likely locations for the first close up look at Kim, who had remained out of sight in the St Regis on Monday.

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman and Chris Volo right arrive at Singapore's Changi Airport on Tuesday
Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman and Chris Volo right arrive at Singapore’s Changi Airport on Tuesday

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

The 45-minute talk between Trump and Kim was held privately.

Getting there won't be easy as long as North Korea remains under the weight of United Nations sanctions.

"Maybe we'll start with the White House, what do you think?" he said when asked if Kim would be invited to Washington or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Mr Trump famously vowed to unleash "fire and fury" if Pyongyang kept threatening the US.

President Donald Trump said it himself to Congress and the American people: "No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea". In question is Pyongyang's precise commitment to nuclear disarmament, and the security guarantees the U.S. is willing to offer in return.

He expressed hope that Trump and Kim would be able to make progress.

While human rights will get a low billing in Singapore, Trump hasn't totally ignored the issue.

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

The young North Korean leader is staying under heavy guard at a city centre hotel and had not appeared in public on Monday until about 9 pm, when one of his security officials buzzing about the hotel lobby shouted "It's all ready!"

Prince George and Princess Charlotte Play at Polo Event
Her mum, the Duchess of Cambridge , who often likes to coordinate Charlotte's outfits with hers, was also wearing a summery frock. Charlotte donned sunglasses and ran in bare feet, at one point attempting a head stand in front of her laughing mom.

'Don't expect too much': Rodman plays down Kim Trump breakthrough