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Korean officials hold marathon talks ahead of summit

14 June 2018

Senate Democratic leaders on Monday tried to set unrealistically high expectations for a nuclear agreement to be negotiated by President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

On the eve of the first encounter between a sitting USA president and a leader of North Korea, American officials are maintaining any resulting agreement must lead to an end of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile threats.

Trump celebrated his 72nd birthday during his lunch with Loong at the presidential palace Istana after their bilateral meeting during which the two leaders discussed everything from the summit preparations to the US' tariff threats.

Donald Trump has made a decision to leave his historic summit with Kim Jong-un 15 hours earlier than expected, flying back to Washington on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning.

Offering a preview to reporters on the eve of the summit, Pompeo said it could provide "an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity" to North Korea.

In the run-up to the meeting, Trump had predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days.

US President Donald Trump arrived In Singapore ahead of the US-DPRK Summit.

In a meeting that seemed unthinkable just months ago, the leaders met at a Singapore island resort, shaking hands warmly in front of a row of alternating US and North Korean flags.

Commuters read news of Kim Jong-un's arrival in Singapore, at a train station in Pyongyang.

Some people were grumbling in the wealthy city-state because of traffic jams caused by the summit and the cost of hosting two leaders with massive security needs.

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Trump spoke only briefly in public, forecasting a "nice" outcome for the summit during a meeting with Singapore's prime minister.

Kim Jong Un, center, tours the Esplanade in Singapore on Monday during a surprise late-night tour.

The daylong summit will also include a working lunch and a larger meeting involving aides to both leaders, the White House said.

Trump and Kim are staying in separate hotels in the famous Orchard Road area of Singapore, dotted with high-rise luxury apartment blocks, offices and glittering shopping malls. Sources told Axios that measure was conditional upon what Kim was willing to give the U.S.in return.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier in the day that U.S. and North Korean officials held "substantive" talks.

Chosun Ilbo speculates that part of the reason North Korean officials only revealed that Kim left the country after he had returned is that Kim "at first seemed nervous that discontent in the unruly military or the Pyongyang elite could bubble over in his absence".

The White House said in a statement that discussions between officials from both sides were "ongoing and have moved more quickly than expected" before the 9am meeting on Singapore's Sentosa island.

Such treats are unheard of for most North Koreans, even for government officials, who have seen their chances of overseas travel wither in recent years as their country's isolation has increased under sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs.

In a tweet on June 1, the scholar said, "This is the only way to advance if we are to avoid catastrophic failure of diplomacy or catastrophic success, ie, offering up too much to get a deal in Singapore".

Korean officials hold marathon talks ahead of summit