ReutersSINGAPORE (Reuters) — U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore could “work out very nicely” as officials from both countries met to narrow differences on how to end a nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the preparatory talks were moving quite rapidly and “we anticipate that they will come to their logical conclusion even more quickly than we anticipated.”
The summit provides “an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity” to North Korea, Pompeo told a news conference on the eve of the summit.
However, he played down the possibility of a quick breakthrough and said the summit should set the framework for “the hard work that will follow,” insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until that had happened, Pompeo said. “If diplomacy does not move in the right direction ... those measures will increase.”
Kim and Trump arrived in tropical Singapore on Sunday for the first ever face-to-face meeting by leaders of two countries that have been enemies since the 1950-1953 Korean War.
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.
“We’ve got a very interesting meeting ... tomorrow, and I just think it’s going to work out very nicely,” Trump said.
Kim remained ensconced in the heavily guarded St. Regis Hotel, where he is staying. There was also no sign of his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has accompanied him to Singapore.
Trump and Kim are staying in separate hotels in the famous Orchard Road area of Singapore, dotted with high-rise luxury apartment blocks, offices and glittering shopping malls. Traffic was held up in the steamy midday sun and scores of bystanders were penned in by police when Trump went to meet Lee.
Similar scenes were seen on Sunday when Kim and Trump arrived in the city, and when Kim went to meet Lee. Their hotels are cordoned off with heavy security.
Commenting for the first time on the summit, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency earlier said the two sides would exchange “wide-ranging and profound views” to reset relations. It heralded the summit as part of a “changed era.”
Discussions would focus on “the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, the issue of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual concern,” KCNA said.Speech