The world is crossing its fingers (even Maxine Waters)...
Here's the moment— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) June 12, 2018
Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un in Singapore
(watch as he mouths the words "thank you very much" to the cameras) pic.twitter.com/tIaYOTL5Xh
Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reports that Kim Jong Un told Trump, after their handshake and before their one-on-one meeting:
“Many people in the world will think of this as a scene from a fantasy ... science fiction movie.”
Walking to the meeting...
"It's my honor -- we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt," President Trump says as he sits down with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
"The way to get here was not easy...but we overcome all the obstacles to get here," replies Kim Jong Un.
After their one-on-one talks, Pres Trump and Kim Jong-un joined their delegation members for an expanded bilateral.
On the brief walk there, Trump asked how things were going: "Very, very good. Excellent relationship.”
Once at the expanded bilateral, Trump tuned everyone out and focused laser-like on Kim.
Kim: "We overcame speculation about this summit... I believe this is a good prelude for peace."
Trump: "We will solve it, we will be successful... I look forward to working on it with you."
The Trump-Kim Summit just reached the two-hour mark...
Trump/Kim summit hits 2 hour mark. pic.twitter.com/GeSyeNxC1D— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 12, 2018
And amid it all CNN...
* * *
Contrary to rumors spread early Monday by the Washington Post, international media has confirmed that the denuclearization of North Korea is, in fact, on the agenda - as is the easing of US economic sanctions.
Achieving this would require much more than the removal of weapons...
* * *
Dennis Rodman getting choked up on CNN...
"Today is a great day," former NBA star Dennis Rodman says in an emotional interview in which he describes his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un https://t.co/eoNeZnYFm7 pic.twitter.com/6gouUPBBpX— CNN International (@cnni) June 12, 2018
The following is a rough outline of President Trump’s schedule for the (all times are Singapore local time):
POTUS exits his limo...
President Trump arrives for the summit pic.twitter.com/c278lvgUx0— Axios (@axios) June 12, 2018
Kim exits his limo...
Kim Jong-un arrives for the summit pic.twitter.com/TEyR1szjqc— Axios (@axios) June 12, 2018
Kim's motorcade arrives at the summit hotel...
POTUS arrives at the hotel:
Kim heading to The Summit...
Trump heading to the hotel where the Summit is being held...
Activists hold a vigil outside the White House to celebrate the joint summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held in Singapore.
* * *
After a year of vitriolic sound, fiery tweet fury, and hidden diplomacy, the day has arrived when President Trump will meet face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday.
Kim prepared by sightseeing some of Singapore's finest nightlife...
And selfies with the Singapore minister of Foreign Affairs...
And after meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong...
Thank you Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong! pic.twitter.com/8MMYGuOj8Q— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2018
Trump's team hunkered down...
A successful summit could lead to a peace that has been elusive for 50 years; an unsuccessful summit would offer the left yet more ammunition to attack the current administration as having been 'duped' and before the summit had begun, Trump had some choice words for the naysayers... " The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers," Trump tweeted, then explaining where they are wrong: "We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle launches have stopped, and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!"
The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers. We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle launches have stoped, and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2018
And sure enough, just an hour before the historic meeting, the House Democrats chimed in with Nancy Pelosi explaining solemnly what a "historic opportunity" this was - setting the scene for their post-summit PR blitz to play down any and every achievement - and furthermore demanding that the ever-so-helpful Congress "must weigh in on any US-North Korea deal."
Democrats say they are hope Trump can pull a strong deal off, though they express worry he could accept a bad deal just to secure an agreement.
“We don't want the president to fail at this,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told reporters this week. “We want him to succeed. The stakes for our nation are simply too great. We all want diplomacy to succeed. But, if the president signs on to any deal, even if it's a bad deal, simply because he wants a deal, that would be a huge mistake.”
As The Hill reports, The Trump-Kim meeting will be a first for a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader, and the picture would have seemed unthinkable just a year ago.
“No matter what happens, President Trump and Kim Jong Un are going to call it a success because both leaders are invested in this and they want to,” Sue Mi Terry, Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said at a press briefing.
The history is short and often not so sweet. As The Hill details, Trump took office having been warned by President Obama that North Korea would be his gravest challenge.
Tensions boiled almost immediately as Pyongyang began a barrage of missile tests during Trump’s first months in office.
The tests culminated in November’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea said could reach the entirety of the United States.
North Korea also conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September, which Pyongyang said was a successful hydrogen bomb detonation.
Trump responded to the provocations with provocative rhetoric, belittling Kim as “Little Rocket Man” and threatening “fire and fury.” The Trump administration also launched a “maximum pressure” campaign that sought to choke North Korea with sanctions.
Then came the new year, an Olympics in South Korea and change.
Kim used his New Year’s address to suggest a diplomatic opening: sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
“I think that was a very shrewd move on Kim Jong Un’s part,” Terry said. “North Korea knew just the line to stop. They didn’t go further. They didn’t conduct — remember, we were worried about North Korea conducting atmospheric nuclear tests and going further. But they just stopped right before they crossed that line.”
The Olympics-inspired diplomacy led to more talks with the South, during which the North extended an invitation for Trump to meet with Kim.
When the South Koreans visited Washington to relay the invitation in March, Trump accepted on the spot.
Since then, U.S. and North Korean diplomats have been trying to bridge the gap between the two countries’ definition of denuclearization.
Instead of “rocket man,” Trump has been calling Kim a “very honorable” man.
The summit was thrown into doubt late last month after North Korea took exception to comments from national security adviser John Bolton and made clear its definition of denuclearization includes concessions from the United States. Trump canceled the meeting, but decided to move ahead with it a week later after a visit to Washington by a top North Korean official.
* * *
But here we are, and President Trump sounds hopeful:
Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly....but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2018