Dennis Rodman arrives in Singapore ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Charlene Craig
June 15, 2018

On the eve of a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that peace and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula must remain the clear and shared goal of the meeting.

It was a far cry from past year when Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" and mocked Kim as "little rocket man", and Kim denounced the United States president as the "mentally deranged USA dotard".

"I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean Peninsula is going to be a very much different situation than it has in the past", Trump said during the summit.

"I just think it's going to work out very nicely", he said at a luncheon with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday.

"The other problem is that he's anxious to see some progress at the summit, and human rights is not an easy issue to raise with Kim Jong Un", King said.

Paik doesn't expect any major agreements to come out of this meeting, but with these two leaders, anything can happen.

Kim and Trump shook hands, before sharing private words as they walked off together to begin their talks.

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But there was no mentioning the previous U.S. aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization".

Rodman said that Obama brushed him off and that he'd received death threats and had to go into hiding as a result.

While advisers insist Trump has been reviewing briefing materials, he says his gut instincts will matter most when he gets in the room with Kim.

Even Kim seemed to acknowledge the surreality of the day. "It is also important that diplomatic processes pave the way for progress on human rights issues, from family reunions to engagement with worldwide mechanisms", he said expressing hope that all parties will seize the opportunity to support a peaceful, prosperous, secure, and verifiably denuclearised Korean Peninsula.

Critics said all the pomp and ceremony - American and North Korean flags stood side-by-side to form the backdrops for numerous photo opps - lent too much prestige to Kim, a dictator who imprisons and murders his opponents, all while pursuing long-range nuclear weapons.

As reporters yelled questions during the photo op, Trump told Kim, "The press, they never stop".

The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days for foreign policy for Trump, who shocked USA allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of 7 industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America's closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, he lobbed insults at the G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He was originally scheduled to leave on Wednesday.

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Trump in March accepted Kim's invitation to meet, a decision that took even his aides by surprise. The summit took place at a resort hotel on Sentosa island, just off the Singapore mainland.

Critics of the summit leapt at the leaders' handshake and the moonlight stroll Kim took Monday night along the glittering Singapore waterfront, saying it was further evidence that Trump was helping legitimize Kim on the world stage as an equal of the USA president.

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening "fire and fury" against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a "mentally deranged US dotard".

Citing the return of American hostages and a suspension of North Korean nuclear testing, Trump said that "these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say!" The North Korean delegation included Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to Kim Jong Un who recently met Trump at the White House.

The on-again, off-again summit was reinstated on June 1 after an envoy of Kim's brought Trump a personal letter from the North Korean leader.

David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, likened the event to Trump's old reality television show.

What's more, the official U.S. "memorandum of conversation", or "MemCom", of that meeting was written by the longtime U.S. Russian-to-English interpreter Dmitri Zarechnak, according to a copy of the document posted by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University. Later in the day, he met with senior advisers and phoned the leaders of Japan and South Korea. But he acknowledged the effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear arsenal was in its early stages. He was spotted taking a moonlit stroll around the high-end Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, owned by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, the type of glitzy development few North Koreans could ever imagine coming to their country.

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This story was first published on CNN.com, "Trump hails "excellent relationship" with Kim, turning historic corner." .

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