Kim thanks S'pore for 'sincere efforts' to host summit

US President Donald Trump gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore

Trump and Kim make history with a handshake

US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

Even before the two leaders had left their separate city centre hotels and driven the 13 minutes through blocked-off police-lined roads to the island summit venue, the United States president used Twitter to claim victory and hit back at his critics.

Broad smiles and a firm handshake kicked off the first meeting between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as Singapore prepares to host a historic summit whose twists and turns have enraptured the world.

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Pompeo traveled twice to Pyongyang in recent months to lay the groundwork for Trump's meeting, becoming the most senior member of Trump's team to spend time with Kim face to face. Trump said. "We will be fine!"

It's "going to be tremendously successful", Mr. Trump said in introductory comments broadcast live on television.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore

The lunch, which followed a 45-minute one-on-one meeting between the leaders earlier in the morning and bilateral discussion with senior aides, was held at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Island.

He added that Singapore had been following developments on the Korean peninsula for a very long time.

Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow went as far as to suggest Trudeau was attempting to specifically undermine Trump and damage his negotiating position ahead of his summit with Kim. The North Korean approach, he added was: "Let's be friends (ie, change the relationship), and then we will change our behaviour". But there are major doubts, given how hard it has been for Kim to build his program and given that the weapons are seen as the major guarantee to his holding onto unchecked power.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, said on Monday that preparatory talks had moved "quite rapidly", with the US prepared to provide North Korea security assurances that are "unique" from what it has previously offered.

The seemingly warm exchange between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim on Tuesday was particularly striking, coming just days after a public clash between the USA president and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The summit won't be Trump's first foray into treating an established despot and human rights abuser like or perhaps better than the leader of an allied nation, though it is Twitter's first time treating such an event like a Game of Thrones season finale. Mr. Trump "gets along so well with ruthless, brutal dictators, but you have this acrimonious, hostile relationship with the Canadian Prime Minister?"


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