Trump, Pompeo Positive Ahead of NKorean Summit; Officials Meet to Close Differences

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump impersonators in Singapore

The lead-up to the summit has been marked by uncertainty and waves of frenetic diplomacy - at one point, Mr Trump even briefly called off the summit, after a senior North Korean official described remarks by US Vice-President Mike Pence as "stupid".

Trump, after meeting recently with a North Korean envoy at the White House, said the summit will likely be part of "a process".

As for where Kim will spend the night, he's opted for the St. Regis Singapore, where it is believed he has checked into the hotel's $11,500-a-night Presidential Suite.

Sentosa, where the meeting between Trump and Kim will be held, is a former British military fort and now, a tourist attraction with a Universal Studio theme park.

But it was only Monday morning in North Korea that the government news agency reported that Kim was in Singapore, had met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and would meet Trump on Tuesday.

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. "This is not the fault of either Trump or Kim, but rather a reflection that intractable, decades-long strategic challenges rarely-if ever-get resolved in single encounters", Haas writes.

Trump was presented with a birthday cake by his Singaporean host.

Trump will also speak with reporters in Singapore before departing for home. Previous reports had suggested Trump would leave on Wednesday.

But the 34-year-old North Korean leader also brought a group of trusted lieutenants to Singapore, with at least four high-powered women including his own sister.

Kim's full delegation has not yet been confirmed, but other prominent North Korean officials seen in photos included foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and Kim Chang Son - the man who has been in Singapore in recent weeks negotiating logistical details for the summit.

Singapore's foreign minister posted a selfie with Kim inside what's known as the "flower dome".

Following that test, North Korea declared its state nuclear program was complete.

Even so, the summit continues to be a highly sensitive topic in North Korea and it is hard - even more so than usual - to get people to express their opinions about it.

Trump, who had insisted he would know "within the first minute" if Kim was serious about denuclearization, said he "felt really great" about his brief encounter with the North Korean dictator.

Pyongyang has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits.

A sit-down with the USA president is something North Korea has long pushed for.

MORE: What's up for negotiation at the North Korea summit?

The rare public appearance of Kim, waving and smiling to onlookers, adds to the more affable image of the young leader that has emerged since his summit in April with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

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