Trump in Singapore as summit draws near

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Ahead of his much-anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. President Donald Trump paid a courtesy call to their Singaporean host. For the North, Kim Jong Un has already won a huge propaganda bonus by merely having the summit and sitting down as an equal with the US president, an accomplishment his father and grandfather sought but could never realize.

The meeting was kicking off at 9 a.m. Tuesday with a handshake between Trump and Kim.

Trump is set to meet with Lee on Monday.

It is the farthest Kim has travelled since inheriting power in 2011, and only his third known trip outside the country since then, with the use of a Chinese plane raising questions over the state of North Korea's ageing fleet of Soviet-built aircraft.

Another possibility from the summit is a deal to end the Korean War, which North Korea has long demanded, presumably, in part, to get USA troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea.

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.

On the day before the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with US and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

The KCNA news agency heralded the summit as part of a "changed era".

But former U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said he expects little progress on the key issue of defining the parameters of denuclearisation.

Instead of the Pyongyang-Shanghai- Singapore route that takes six-and-a-half hours but passes over sea routes that are more hard to protect, he flew via Beijing, which took around 10 hours.

The previous United States stance, said Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation, was that "we don't deploy a president to negotiate a treaty, we deploy a president to sign a treaty where we know where every piece of punctuation is on that piece of paper".

It's unclear what Trump and Kim might decide Tuesday. Pompeo held firm to Trump's position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes - and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

Beyond the impact on both leaders' political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people - the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North's nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.

"That is a different phrasing from this very broad denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", he said. He told reporters he thinks he will know nearly immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: "I will know, just my touch, my feel".

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