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Timeline: Trump's turbulent Twitter commentary on Kim Jong Un

Timeline: Trump's turbulent Twitter commentary on Kim Jong Un”

Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un went on an evening tour of Singapore on Monday, posing with city-state officials at a tropical garden before visiting an infinity pool atop a landmark waterfront hotel, to the surprise of guests.

Kim did not elaborate on what those obstacles were, but Trump, sitting by his side, gave him a brief thumbs up and said a good rapport will build between the two countries.

"There's a lot of potential volatility that could come this week: we have the Trump-Kim summit and the central bank meetings", said Ryan Larson, head of USA equity trading at RBC Capital Markets. The White House said Trump would be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton and the US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who has lent his Korea expertise to the talks.

After he took office in January 2017, Trump took a hard line against North Korea, rolling out a campaign of severe United Nations sanctions and trade blockades dubbed "maximum pressure" to get Pyongyang to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. But the 34-year-old North Korean leader also brought a group of trusted lieutenants to Singapore, with at least four high-powered women including his own sister.

The insult came after North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said the country may test a powerful nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean - a retaliation to Trump's earlier threats of military force.

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Last week, Trump told reporters that it would be easy to tell if a deal was possible with Kim in the first minute of the meeting.

A sit-down with the United States president is something North Korea has long pushed for.

Trump is set to meet Kim on Tuesday morning in Singapore.

They also say by winning the prestige of a meeting with the world's most powerful leader, Mr Kim has already gained a victory.

And as they emerged from the meal for a brief stroll together, Trump appeared to delight in showing his North Korean counterpart the interior of "The Beast", the famed US presidential limousine known for its high-tech fortifications.

Tuesday's meeting, convened at a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa, came just three months after Trump accepted North Korea's invitation for talks on the spot. But there were scant details on what new commitments had been secured from Kim, even as Trump announced he would end the regular military exercises the USA conducts with South Korea. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the USA out of the group's traditional closing statement.

"Kim Jong Un wants security guarantees", they wrote Monday, "but history has taught time and again liberal democracies shouldn't try to guarantee the survival of a regime that runs political prison camps and commits crimes against humanity". 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. One thing the American president said wouldn't make the schedule: a round of golf between the two leaders.

The talks will focus on North Korea's controversial nuclear programme.

Officials from the two sides held last-minute talks aimed at laying the groundwork for a meeting that was nearly unthinkable just months ago when the two leaders were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war.

Experts are sceptical. At best, the meeting will likely provide a road map for future talks, each round of which will require hard and complex negotiations.



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