Kim, Trump in countdown to historic summit AFP

Mike Pompeo draws firm line on North Korea as summit hangs in balance

Mike Pompeo draws firm line on North Korea as summit hangs in balance

"The US administration will have to see tangible steps over time by NK toward denuclearization", Ken Gause, an expert on North Korea's leadership and a director of International Affairs Group at CNA.

Although gaps remain over what denuclearization would entail, Trump sounded a positive note in a lunch meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The meeting is the first summit of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting United States president.

Larry Kudlow, the White House senior economic adviser, CNN on Sunday Trump is "not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around" in advance of the North Korean meeting.

As the hours count down to the Tuesday morning meeting, here's a look at what happened in Singapore and the Koreas on Monday.

"Even after the two leaders open the dialogue, we will need a long process that may take one year, two years or even longer to completely resolve the issues", the president said in a weekly meeting with his top aides held at his office Cheong Wa Dae. And that is why, Seoul says, it's all the more crucial for both sides to build and confirm confidence in each other at this first-ever summit.

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

One dispatch by the Korean Central News Agency said North Korea and the U.S. 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".

People the world over are waiting with baited breath for visuals of the first handshake between Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un after months of nuclear standoff and strained ties.

The summit would set the framework for "the hard work that will follow", Mr Pompeo said, insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. The other few options were China, South Korea and Russian Federation, although the latter would have been a long shot, what with the USA imposing sanctions on trade with Moscow.

It is unclear what Mr Trump and Mr Kim might decide on Tuesday.

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.

People crowded around poster stands at subway stations around the capital to read the news and gathered at noon in front of the city's main train station to watch a big screen display of images of Kim getting off the special Air China flight that took him to Singapore.

North Korea, though, has shown little appetite for surrendering nuclear weapons it considers vital to the survival of Kim's dynastic rule.

In the run-up to the meeting, Trump had predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. It has historically published belligerent screeds against the United States, Japan, South Korea, and anyone deemed an enemy of the repressive communist regime, and, conversely, applauded allied communist states like Cuba and Venezuela. Kim flew down in a plane loaned by China, one of the few major allies of North Korea. The ensuing recognition as a "normal country" could then allow sanctions relief, and later global aid and investment.

Moon spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom also said Monday that Moon has no plans yet to speak with Trump after the meeting.

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