How Trump & Kim Are Kicking Off The Summit Might Make You Nervous

by Joseph D. Lyons
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The summit between the leaders of North Korea and the United States will take a lot of manpower, from security, to translators, and — of course, advisers. But one of these very important roles will not be present at the start of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. In fact, how Trump & Kim are kicking off the summit might make you nervous. The two will be meeting for two hours on Tuesday morning with no advisers present.

An unnamed U.S. official told the Associated Press that the summit will begin with a "one-on-one session with translators" and no one else. Only after this time, which could take anywhere up to two hours, will the summit continue with advisers present.

Beyond that, little is known about what will come of Tuesday's first-of-its-kind summit. Trump remains positive. He teased on Monday night that it would "work out" when talking to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Trump said:

We’ve got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow. I think things could work out very nicely. We appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and friendship.

Trump's meeting with Lee was the first official event of the summit on the American side. Kim also met with Lee on Sunday.

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The other previews of Singapore come from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also in town. He said the goal was diplomacy and called Trump's trip "truly a mission a peace." Pompeo laid out what would be an acceptable outcome for the United States.

"A complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept," Pompeo told reporters Monday night. "Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programs."

The goals of the North Koreans largely correspond. The official Korean Central News Agency said Monday that the summit will revolve around "establishing new relations" and "building a permanent and durable peacekeeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, the issue of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and other issues of mutual concern."

In the United States, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it will be easier for North Korea to reach its goals than for the United States to do so. “To the extent that Kim Jong Un has already gone from international pariah to being normalized internationally, you have to say that he’s had some success here," Menendez said on ABC's This Week.

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Menendez noted that the key for the United States was not just getting the North to agree on denuclearization but for the international community to have a way to keep the North accountable.

The definite winner is Singapore. Even though it will cost Singapore $20 million, Singapore's Lee said that hosting the meeting will be a benefit to the country and the world. "When the two sides asked us to host the meeting, we couldn't say no. We have to step up and we can. We are capable of doing it, we have put some resources into it, but we can do a good job," Lee told Channel NewsAsia.

Even though Trump has been largely positive about the summit, he has put high stakes out in the open. "I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people and he has that opportunity. He won't have that opportunity again," Trump said at the end of the G7 meeting in Canada.

The Trump administration has put a big focus on the summit, too. Given some Democratic hesitation, success is equally important for Trump.