Time for a planThe tension is high in Singapore as security tightens to receive an unusual couple this week — U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — for the first-ever summit between the leaders of the two countries at Sentosa Island. The special zone areas are strictly restricted and so is the skylines as the world’s most powerful leader and the head of the world’s most reclusive state sit down for a landmark deal that could put the Korean Peninsula on a new path and officially close the chapter on the Cold War legacy.
Trump cut his schedule short in Canada for the Group of 7 summit and will arrive in Singapore on Sunday, just a few hours after Kim. Pyongyang reportedly leased a Chinese aircraft as Kim’s plane has never ventured so far.
Officials are making the 11th-hour touches on the summit agenda. U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who led working-level negotiations with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Song-hui in the truce village of Panmunjom, checked out of his hotel in Seoul. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been regularly briefed by Sung Kim on the process of the negotiations, told reporters that Washington and Pyongyang have made progress in narrowing their differences over the denuclearization process.
The Washington Post reported that Trump may be more interested in the historic handshake photo moment with Kim rather than drawing a tangible result on denuclearization from the Singapore meeting. Many in Korea fear the talks will end with eased sanctions as Trump talks of a peace treaty with more clarity than a denuclearization agreement.
After a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump reversed his earlier comment that nothing would be signed in Singapore to say he could “sign an agreement” to end the Korean War. He said he could invite Kim to the White House for further discussions. Trump has laid all possible cards — peace treaty, regime security, normalization of ties and economic aid — on the table in return for the complete dismantlement of nuclear weapons.
Denuclearization is a lengthy process. North Korea must first disclose all information and resources in its nuclear program to outside inspectors.
Pompeo said the two leaders will discuss a timetable for denuclearization. We hope the two leaders can reach an agreement on a road map to reach that goal as early as possible.
JoongAng Sunday, June 9-10, Page 34