by Daveda Gruber:
Huddling for last-minute negotiations Monday, senior U.S. and North Korean officials were still trying to iron out differences ahead of the summit. America’s top diplomat reiterated that Washington’s position was “clear and unchanged.”
Envoys from both sides spent hours talking in a conference room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said talks were “moving quite rapidly.”
President Donald Trump prepared to meet Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.
On Twitter, Pompeo said this:
Early pre-brief with my @StateDept team. Amb Kim meets with #DPRK today. We remain committed to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula pic.twitter.com/ybtrMJuqK8
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 11, 2018
.@POTUS has made it clear: if Kim Jong-un denuclearizes there is a brighter path for #DPRK. We think that the people of U.S. and #NorthKorea can create a future defined by friendship and collaboration — not by mistrust and fear.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 7, 2018
Trump and Kim generally kept low profiles on Monday.
Most of the day, the North Korean leader remained inside St. Regis Singapore hotel.
One person with knowledge of the situation at hand said that the North Korean delegation appeared to be making preparations for Mr. Kim to go on an outdoor tour of the city on Monday evening.
No Kwang Chol, Mr. Kim’s newly-appointed defense minister, with a group of North Korean officials, appeared to have scoped out potential sights earlier in the day.
Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, met with President Trump before a closed-door event with American diplomats.
Over lunch Trump said to Lee, “As you know, we’ve got a very interesting meeting tomorrow.”
He added that he expected the meeting with Mr. Kim to “work out very nicely.”
At the Ritz-Carlton, Washington’s ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim met for several hours with Choe Son Hui, the North’s top diplomat on U.S. affairs.
A White House official said it was the seventh time the two negotiating teams have met before of the summit.
The White House has set aside two hours for a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Kim. U.S. officials said there is no set time for the talks to finish.
The two leaders are expected to meet publicly and shake hands before going behind closed doors for their deliberations.
Top aides will join the two leaders for expanded talks after that meeting. Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton are expected to join in.
The U.S. delegation also includes John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, and Matthew Pottinger, a top Asia adviser at the National Security Council.
So far, Trump is scheduled to leave Singapore at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
At this time, the North Korean delegation more than one flight scheduled to depart Singapore. One is on Tuesday afternoon and the other is scheduled for Wednesday morning. The Tuesday flight is due to leave at 2 p.m. local time, five hours after the summit is scheduled to start. It isn’t clear which plane Kim will be on.
Kim’s delegation flew into Singapore on Sunday using three planes. The North Korean leader arrived in a Chinese jetliner, while two Soviet-designed aircraft bearing North Korean markings, also landed at Singapore’s Changi Airport.
The ‘Air China’ jet was provided at North Korea’s request.
In Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that he was pleased by the prospect of dialogue. He also warned that the underlying issues would take a long time to resolve.
On Monday, during a meeting with his senior aides, Moon said, “The relationship of deep-rooted hostility and the North Korean nuclear issue cannot be resolved in one single action through a meeting between leaders. Even after the two leaders have initiated dialogue in a big way, we may need a long process that could take one year, two years or even longer to completely resolve the issues concerned.”
I’m excited to see how this summit turns out. I’d like to wish President Trump good luck. He is making history whether the Democrats like it or not.