Korea officials in final summit preparations

Kim And Company Arrive In Singapore Via A Procession Of Chinese And North Korean Jets (Updated)

USA and North Korean officials were in talks in Singapore on Monday in a late bid to narrow differences before their leaders hold an historic summit aimed at finding ways to end a nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore Sunday for a historic summit with President Donald Trump - and running alongside his motorcade were his detachment of bodyguards.

US and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

Finally, on Monday morning, the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, reported Kim was in Singapore, had met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and would meet Trump on Tuesday.

The motorcade carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leaves the Istana, or Presidential Palace, in Singapore on Sunday on June 10, 2018, after his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

North Korea has so far presented Kim's sudden diplomatic overtures to his neighbors and to the United States as a logical next step following what Kim has claimed is the completion of his plan to develop a credible nuclear deterrent to what Pyongyang has long claimed is a policy of hostility and "nuclear blackmail" by Washington.

He thanked Singapore's organisation of the summit as if it was "their own family affair".

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire USA mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the US and the North. Earlier this month, Singapore's defense minister said the US trade threats were as disruptive to the global order as China's military deployments in the disputed South China Sea.

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The summit has raised hopes of progress towards a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, the last festering legacy of the Cold War, after hostilities only stopped with an armistice.

Under Kim, Pyongyang has made rapid progress in its weapons technology, carrying out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date a year ago and launching missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland.

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.

The two leaders discussed bilateral relations as well as the summit and the recent positive developments in the Korean Peninsula. China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.

Rather than bandy the term about, negotiators in Trump's administration should seek to obtain a commitment in writing that North Korea will abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, Cha continued.

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea's willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country's warheads and nuclear fuel, much of which is likely kept in a vast complex of underground facilities.

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