Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un prepare to meet in Singapore | News | DW | 11.06.2018
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Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un prepare to meet in Singapore

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are getting ready for the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the US and North Korea. The two will sit down for an intimate 45-minute meeting before being joined by aides.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were preparing to meet on Tuesday to negotiate an end to the nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula.

The one-on-one will be the first ever meeting between sitting leaders of the two nations.

Kim and Trump initially plan to meet without any aides besides translators, prompting concerns from diplomatic experts on the lack of official transcript and the prospect of diverging accounts.

Read more: US, North Korea begin preparations for historic summit

High stakes

Both leaders have a huge amount riding on the outcome of the talks. Trump has all but set total denuclearization of the peninsula as a condition of the meeting, and if he comes out empty-handed he risks his self-made image of a deal-maker.

For its part, North Korea is buckling under the weight of heavy international sanctions for its repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests. It also holds a strong hand with the threat of devastating firepower pointed at the South Korean capital, Seoul.

The summit follows months of personal insults and threats of destruction. But in recent days the rhetoric has calmed down, with both parties sounding optimistic for the meeting.

Both leaders have been making the rounds in Singapore, with Kim taking a waterfront stroll on Monday evening, later proclaiming he had much to learn from Singapore's impressive economic development, according to the official North Korean KCNA news agency.

Early Tuesday, Trump tweeted shortly before the meeting saying things were "going well" but that he would know very quickly whether a deal was possible.

"We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!"

A gamble

The on-again off-again meeting has been described by many political observers as a foolhardy gamble that will grant a dangerous regime the international legitimacy it craves.

Former US Defense Secretary William Perry warned that if they failed to reach an agreement there would be an increased danger
for a "catastrophic" military solution. "If it falls apart, it's probably worse than as if we ever started."

Trump responded to his critics with an early morning tweet railing against the "haters."

But many are hoping the meeting could yield results.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the two leaders to seize the opportunity "to support a peaceful, prosperous, secure and verifiably denuclearized Korean Peninsula."

He commended the two leaders for pursuing a diplomatic solution and "seeking to break out of the dangerous cycle that created so much concern last year."

aw/cmk (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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