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Trump talks on phone with Singapore PM

15 May 2018

The U.S. and North Korea have a "shared vision" for the future of the Korean peninsula and are in "complete agreement" on the objectives for President Donald Trump's June summit with Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday. A glance at past North Korean behavior patterns should temper Trump's expectations.

For years, North Korean citizens could even travel to Singapore without a visa.

According to the Japan Times, the USA demands also include the North Korean surrender of documents on weapons design and even the exile of the country's own nuclear weapons engineers, so that the regime is divested of its atomic knowhow. Unlike his father Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011 and who travelled by armoured train on his rare trips overseas because he feared being shot down, according to a North Korean defector familiar with his security details, the younger leader is not known to be averse to flying.

In a statement carried by state media, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said that all of the tunnels at the country's northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion, and that observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed. Both promises were abandoned.

USA ties to Singapore are strong.

At a welcoming ceremony for the three USA citizens held captive in North Korea for years, Trump credited Kim for being "excellent to these three incredible people", despite the ruler's long list of human rights abuses within his country.

A series of U.S. administrations has sent envoys, both official and unofficial, to Pyongyang in the hope of stopping North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But there have been questions about whether or not North Korea and the US have the same understanding of what that means - and whether Kim is really willing to give up a nuclear program begun by his grandfather, a man he idolizes. And the presence at Trump's side of John Bolton, an implacable advocate of regime change in both Iran and North Korea, is akin to the U.S. president arriving in Singapore in a T-shirt saying: You Have No Reason to Trust Me.

The praise Trump showered on the "excellent" Kim, who has conducted six nuclear tests, contrasted with the vitriol he poured on Iran which by all accounts (including those of U.S. administration officials) had been sticking to the deal it struck with major powers in 2015 to keep its nuclear activities peaceful and small-scale.

While Kang sought to assure reporters that the USA and South Korea are unified on the matter, she was slightly more moderate on the possibility of relief, saying sanctions must remain in place "until we see visible, meaningful action taken by North Korea on the denuclearization track". As of last November, Kim has his nukes and an intercontinental ballistic missile program he can live with. The margin of error is ±5.1 percentage points among Americans who say they disapprove of Trump.

Most Americans who disapprove of President Donald Trump overall tend to disapprove of how Trump is handling just about every issue.

"There have been many discussions internally as to whether former President Park Geun-hye will be a defendant", Jang told NK News. "It's Nixon and Mao - that's the deal they talk about". Instead of "denuclearizing North Korea", Trump has gone to talking about denuclearizing "the entire peninsula". Given North Korea's extensive and hidden nuclear program, complete verification may be impossible to achieve.

South Korea's presidential office said the Chinese regime notified Seoul about the Xi-Kim meeting in advance.

"We can't overstate the pivotal role President Moon has played in getting us where we are today".

Singapore is gearing up to host the highly-anticipated summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He will also try to benefit from Trump's talk of bringing peace to the Koreas.

Rather than merely words or promises from North Korea for denuclearization, "we very much hope to see further steps, more concrete steps toward denuclearization being produced at the U.S". Such a plan would shield Pyongyang from future USA military threats.

The stakes will be high when Trump sits down with Kim.

The good news is that superficial talks are better than another war in Asia.

Trump talks on phone with Singapore PM