What happened in Singapore on the eve of Trump-Kim summit?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Trump is all set to depart for Singapore where he is scheduled to meet with Kim on Tuesday.

Trump, after the first-ever meeting between USA and North Korean leaders, had been scheduled to fly back to Washington on Wednesday morning after spending Tuesday with Kim in Singapore.

While no agenda has been officially announced, it is being speculated that bilateral relations between the two nations might also come up, as the USA, as well as the United Nations, has put additional sanctions on North Korea in recent times following Kim Jong Un's repeated missile tests.

Mr Trump expressed optimism about Tuesday's meeting during a working lunch on Monday with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and aides to both leaders.

- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed reporters, insisting Washington is prepared to take actions to provide North Korea with "sufficient certainty" that denuclearization "is not something that ends badly for them".

On the eve of the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with USA and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire US mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the USA and the North.

The relative speed with which the state media got the news of Kim's arrival in Singapore out to the North Korean public suggests a certain level of confidence that the meeting will go well - or at least well enough.

After a sudden and welcome turn to diplomacy following last year's threats, insults and fears of war - remember "fire and fury" and "dotard"?

President Trump had lunch on Monday with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

One dispatch by the Korean Central News Agency said North Korea and the USA would exchange "wide-ranging and profound views" on establishing new relations, building a "permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism", achieving denuclearisation and "other issues of mutual concern, as required by the changed era".

Tuesday's summit will be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting American president.

But it is Mr Kim's pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Mr Trump such high stakes.

The summit has raised hopes of progress towards a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, the last festering legacy of the Cold War, after hostilities only stopped with an armistice. The previous U.S. stance, said Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation, was that "we don't deploy a president to negotiate a treaty, we deploy a president to sign a treaty where we know where every piece of punctuation is on that piece of paper".

Pompeo also says Tuesday's meeting presents a test of Kim's willingness to agree to deal his nuclear weapons away for "protections" from the United States.

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

A good starting point would be North Korea's agreement to dismantle some nuclear infrastructure within the next six months and declare full accounting of all nuclear materials within a few months, said Michael Mazarr, associate director of the strategy and doctrine at the RAND Corporation.

The security guarantees could include an official declaration of an end to the Korean War, changes to the US-South Korea combined military exercises and lifting of economic sanctions, they added.

However, North Korea will probably be unwilling to "denuclearise" as defined by the United States and its allies, either in any joint statement or in subsequent official-level talks. The ensuing recognition as a "normal country" could then allow sanctions relief, and later global aid and investment.

Trump also spoke by telephone on Monday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, according to officials in Seoul who predicted that if Tuesday's Singapore summit is a success it would be a "gift" to the entire world.

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