United States President Donald Trump plans to shake hands and have lunch with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, kicking off a historic summit on Tuesday between two adversaries that only last year had seemed at the brink of nuclear war.
Their meeting at a luxury hotel in Singapore, scheduled for 9 am local time -- 6.30 am IST -- will mark the first face-to-face encounter between a US president and a leader of North Korea. Its outcome could prove pivotal in determining whether the two nations pursue a lasting peace or a fresh military conflict.
On the summit's eve, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drew a firm line, saying the US plans to keep sanctions in place until North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons capability. Complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation, he told reporters, "is the only outcome that the United States will accept."
Trump and Kim will first pose for a handshake, followed by a private one-on-one meeting, the White House said Monday. They'll be joined later by their staffs for an expanded meeting and a working lunch. Trump will hold a press conference and leave Singapore later on Tuesday, the White House said, noting that negotiations "have moved more quickly than expected." Trump had previously said the talks might extend beyond the first day.
Trump, a former real-estate developer, has approached his meeting with Kim like a business negotiation -- with flattery, flashy promises and flexible terms juxtaposed with constant threats to walk away from the table. He said last week that he expects to know "within the first minute" of their meeting if Kim is serious about giving up his weapons.