Isolated Kim Jong Un takes big gamble leaving home for Trump summit

Isolated Kim Jong Un takes big gamble leaving home for Trump summit

"I think within the first minute I'll know", Trump said.

Kim's main concern is the survival of his own regime - South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters that the Pyongyang leader had "concerns on whether he could trust that the USA would end its hostile policy and guarantee the security of his regime when the North denuclearises itself".

Kim and Trump will meet in Singapore on Tuesday, in the first ever summit between the leaders of America and North Korea.

The North Korean leader has in recent months been trying to shift his image from reclusive tyrant to smiling statesman.

"He would be there, he would be running his country, his country would be very rich", Trump said in May, noting that Libya "was a much different model" and not applicable in this case.

Singapore is hosting this year's meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has seen the USA and China jockey for diplomatic influence in recent weeks.

Haas offers a useful warning, though, as people around the world settle in to watch the show in Singapore: "Virtually no North Korea analyst inside or outside of the US government" expects Kim to actually give up his nukes.

Trump hopes the landmark talks will kick-start a process that eventually see Kim give up his nuclear weapons in an irreversible manner that can be verified internationally.

Trump himself seemed optimistic as well.

Mr Kim said "the entire world [was] watching" while Mr Trump said he had a good feeling about the summit.

Enlarge this image
Enlarge this image

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if we walked out and everything was settled all of a sudden from sitting down for a couple of hours?"

At the hotel lobby, grim-faced North Korean security guards warned other hotel guests not to take pictures as Kim walked to his Mercedes Benz limousine.

"He is going to make a basic this guy serious or is, as some people think, this all a ruse and a North Korean deception?"

Mr Lee complimented the bold and admirable decision by Kim Jong and Mr Trump to come together for the Summit. Kim had his own harsh words, calling the president a "mentally deranged US dotard".

"SPUR OF THE MOMENT" Trump, speaking in Canada on Saturday, said any agreement at the summit would be "spur of the moment", underscoring the uncertain outcome of what he called a "mission of peace". Trump is expected to meet Lee on Monday.

Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, who assisted with the lowering of tensions between North Korea and the global community by attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, is among the North Korean delegation. But they share a similar hands-on approach, with decisions based on their own personal views -sometimes even their whims.

Kim may also be seeing the gamble in a light never considered by his autocratic father and grandfather because of "his determination to modernize North Korea", according to Ryan Haas, an Asia expert at the John L. Thornton China Center.

North Korea news agency KCNA commented on Tuesday's agenda, saying talks would focus on "the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern".

The format for the historic talks, at a luxury island hotel, was still far from clear.

So the summit was almost derailed by talk from Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton of a "Libya model" of disarmament.

More news: Trump Turns Tables on G-7 Allies With Free-Trade ‘Proclamation’
More news: Nadal battles through cramp to claim French Open crown
More news: First Man poster unveils Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong