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Chief Bakes

BBC: Trump Kim summit: US president lauds deal despite scepticism

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Chief Bakes

Trump-Kim summit: North Korea leader may get US invite

  • 7 June 2018
Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Trump held talks with Shinzo Abe about next week's summit

US President Donald Trump said he would consider inviting North Korea's Kim Jong-un to the White House if their summit in Singapore goes well.

Mr Trump made the comment after meeting Japan's PM Shinzo Abe to discuss the 12 June summit.

Mr Trump said it was possible an agreement to end the Korean War could be reached, though he called that "the easy part" of the negotiations.

"It's what happens after that that is really important," he told reporters.

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Chief Bakes

Trump Kim summit: North Korean leader arrives in Singapore

  • 10 June 2018
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Breaking News image

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Singapore for his scheduled summit meeting with US President Donald Trump.

The historic meeting between the two leaders will take place at the island resort of Sentosa on Tuesday.

It is the first time a North Korean leader has met a sitting US president.

Before setting off, Mr Trump described the summit as a "one-time shot" at peace and said the two were in "unknown territory in the truest sense".

Singapore's minister for foreign affairs Vivian Balakrishnan tweeted a photo of Mr Kim after he touched down in the island nation.

Washington hopes the summit will kick-start a process that eventually sees Mr Kim give up his nuclear weapons.

The two leaders have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months, trading insults and threatening war before abruptly changing tack and moving towards a face-to-face meeting.

Both leaders will meet Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before their summit.

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Trump Kim summit: North Korea eyes 'new relationship' with US

  • 11 June 2018
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p069nxlh.jpg
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Media captionBig planes and jogging guards: Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have arrived in Singapore

North Korean state media has raised the possibility that the isolated country could "establish a new relationship" with the United States.

It comes a day before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets US President Donald Trump for historic talks.

The comments mark a shift in tone from North Korea after decades of animosity towards the US.

Meanwhile Mr Trump has said he has a "good feeling" about the much-anticipated summit.

Both leaders arrived for the talks - the first ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader - in Singapore on Sunday.

Mr Trump tweeted on Monday morning that there was "excitement in the air" in the Asian country ahead of the summit.

He hopes the meeting will kick-start a process that eventually sees Mr Kim give up nuclear weapons.

But North Korea's perspective has always been opaque, clarifying its expectations less than a day out from its sit-down with the US.

What has North Korea said?

North Korea's state media does not usually report on the leader's activities in real time, and the summit has only had a passing mention so far.

Image copyright Singapore/MOCI
Image caption Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore ahead of US President Donald Trump

The editorial in Rodong Sinmun confirmed that Mr Kim had travelled to Singapore to meet Mr Trump and that "we will establish a new relationship to meet the changing demands of the new era".

It said "broad and in-depth opinions" would be exchanged to "establish a permanent and peaceful regime in the Korean peninsula and to solve problems that are of common concern, including issues to realise the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

"Even if a country had a hostile relationship with us in the past, our attitude is that if this nation respects our autonomy... we shall seek normalisation through dialogue," it reads.


Why these comments matter

Analysis: Laura Bicker, BBC News, Singapore

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Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhat should Donald Trump call Kim Jong-un?

For decades the US has been a sworn enemy. There are even anti-American museums in Pyongyang.

But the state is now trying to sell the idea of talking to what it once described as "the incarnation of all sorts of evil, the empire of devils". And that was some of its milder language.

So let's examine a couple of key phrases from Rodong Sinmun.

In the English version, the summit is sold as a chance to realise "the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern, as required by the changed era".

It's the "changed era" that is important. North Korea has spent decades building up a nuclear arsenal at great personal cost. Kim Jong-un needs to tell his people why he's willing to negotiate.

His New Year speech - the one that kick-started this diplomatic process - was all about North Korea's strategy of building the economy having achieved the goal of becoming a nuclear power. This has echoes of that.

These pages in the paper are significant because they pave the way for a possible change in the state's message and it helps those watching argue that this time with North Korea - things could be different.

Read more from Laura: How Kim the outcast became popular


What's happening now?

Preparation for the unprecedented summit has been both frenzied and unusual. A meeting of this kind is usually reserved as the end result of months of discussions and diplomacy.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kim Jong-un (left) thanked Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong for hosting the summit

Few details of the agenda have been released and those continue to be fleshed out on the eve of the summit.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that senior diplomats from both countries were meeting in Singapore on Monday to try to draft an agreement to present to their leaders.

The US president and North Korean leader are staying in separate hotels, not far from each other, and will meet on Tuesday at a hotel on Sentosa, a popular tourist island a few hundred metres off the Singapore mainland.

How did we get here?

The two leaders have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months.

Mr Trump's first year in office was marked by bitter exchanges between himself and Mr Kim - as North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of the international community.

The US president successfully sought to tighten UN sanctions on the North, and to get its traditional ally, China, to go along. He also famously vowed to unleash "fire and fury" if Pyongyang kept threatening the US. Mr Kim has called him "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

A defiant North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test in September 2017. Soon after, Mr Kim declared that his country had achieved its mission of becoming a nuclear state, with missiles that could reach the US.

In early 2018, a remarkable turnaround in the relationship occurred. It started with significant diplomatic overtures from North Korea towards South Korea during the Winter Olympics. In March, Mr Trump shocked the world by accepting an invitation from Mr Kim to meet in person.

What do both sides want?

Denuclearisation has been the central issue in the run-up to the talks. The US wants North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but North Korea is widely expected to resist that and it is unclear what it might ask for in return.

Mr Kim has also said he wants to focus on building the North Korean economy - and thus wants sanctions relief and international investment. The question is what concessions he is willing to make, and whether he will stick to any promises made.

Still, the US is not necessarily expecting to get a final deal in Singapore. President Trump has described it as a "get-to-know-you situation" and said "it's going to be a process".

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Chief Bakes

Trump Kim summit: US and North Korean leaders to hold historic talks

  • 11 June 2018
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Composite of Donald Trump (L) and Kim Jong-un (R) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Trump and Mr Kim have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past year

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for an unprecedented summit on Tuesday aimed at defusing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

No sitting US president has ever met a North Korean leader.

Mr Trump has said the highly anticipated talks represent a "one-time shot" at peace.

The meeting marks a dramatic shift in relations between the pair, who last year traded insults and threats of war.

Washington hopes the summit will kick-start a process that eventually leads to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has said it is willing to commit to denuclearisation, but it is unclear how this will be achieved or what might be requested in return.

The summit will be held at a hotel on Sentosa, a popular tourist island a few hundred metres off the Singapore mainland, at 09:00 local time (02:00 GMT).

Heavy security and armed police are standing guard at summit-related venues across the city state.

The two leaders are staying in separate hotels, not far from each other.

Mr Trump has said he has a "good feeling" about the summit.

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Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCheers for a smiling Kim Jong-un at the Marina Bay Sands hotel

Mr Kim spent the evening before the meeting visiting some of Singapore's tourist sites.

He smiled and waved to excited crowds and was accompanied by Singapore's foreign minister, who tweeted a selfie standing next to him.

Why is this remarkable?

For decades, North Korea has been a pariah state, and now its latest hereditary leader is being treated as a world statesman.

Last year, it would have been a rare sight to see a North Korean flag flying anywhere in Asia.

Now, Mr Kim - who runs a totalitarian regime with extreme censorship and forced-labour camps - is meeting and greeting dignitaries.

"The circus-like atmosphere might be amusing if the stakes weren't so high," wrote US campaigning group Human Rights Watch.

What is the agenda?

Few details of the agenda have been released.

According to the White House, this is the plan for the summit:

  • Mr Trump and Mr Kim initial greetings (09:00 local time; 01:00 GMT)
  • One-to-one meeting
  • Expanded meeting with other representatives
  • Working lunch

Mr Trump will leave the country that same evening to return to the US. Mr Kim is reported to be flying out even earlier, at 14:00 local time.

What are the talks about?

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

"They have to de-nuke. If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable," Mr Trump said ahead of the meeting.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would only accept "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" - but would offer "unique" security guarantees, that would provide North Korea with "certainty... that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them".

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Media captionThe nuclear word Trump and Kim can't agree on

A formal end to the Korean war may also be discussed. The 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce, not a final peace treaty. Mr Trump says signing a peace agreement would probably be "the easy part".

How did we get here?

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

It is an outcome that seemed unimaginable less than a year ago - when Mr Trump and Mr Kim exchanged streams of fiery insults - and North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of the international community.

p069hnhj.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhat should Donald Trump call Kim Jong-un?

Mr Trump famously vowed to unleash "fire and fury" if Pyongyang kept threatening the US. Meanwhile, Mr Kim has called Mr Trump "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Previous attempts to negotiate with Pyongyang have failed, but earlier this year North Korea demonstrated a new openness to diplomacy and held direct talks with Seoul.

The rapid improvement in relations between the North and South Korea - technically still at war - culminated with a historic leaders' summit in April.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Kim and South Korean president Moon Jae-In shared hugs and smiles at a landmark summit in April

During this warming of relations between the two Koreas, March saw Mr Trump stun the world by accepting an invitation to meet Mr Kim.

Still, the road to the Singapore talks has been far from smooth.

The lead-up to the summit has been marked by uncertainty and waves of frenetic diplomacy - at one point, Mr Trump even briefly called off the summit, after a senior North Korean official described remarks by US Vice-President Mike Pence as "stupid".

Talks of this kind typically take months to prepare. Critics fear that Mr Trump is poorly prepared for the negotiations - while others say Mr Trump's quickfire approach has already produced results - including North Korea saying it is willing to consider denuclearising.

What do both sides want?

The US wants North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons in an irreversible manner that can be verified by the international community.

But analysts question why Mr Kim would give up his nuclear weapons after pushing so hard to get them. They also say by winning the prestige of a meeting with the world's most powerful leader, Mr Kim has already gained a victory.

The North Korean leader has also said he now wants to focus on building the country's economy - and wants sanctions relief and international investment.

Still, the US is not expecting a final deal in Singapore. President Trump has described it as a "get-to-know-you situation" and said "it's going to be a process".

The US president has also said that if he thinks things are going badly, he will walk out of the meeting, but if things go well, Mr Kim could receive an invitation to the White House.

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Media captionHow to talk to North Korea - advice from three North Korean experts

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Trump Kim summit: Talks were 'honest and direct', US president says

  • 12 June 2018
Breaking News image

US President Donald Trump says his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that culminated in a joint agreement were "honest, direct and productive".

Mr Trump said he would halt "war games" while Mr Kim had promised to destroy a missile testing site.

Their agreement also included a commitment from Mr Kim to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

It is the first time a US president and North Korean leader have met.

The pair shook hands, held talks together and ate lunch accompanied by advisers.

The agreement said the two countries would co-operate towards "new relations" while the US would provide "security guarantees" to North Korea.

Announcing the agreement to reporters, Mr Trump said that Mr Kim had agreed to "verified" denuclearisation - a key US demand before the summit.

Mr Trump also said that he had raised the issue of human rights with Mr Kim, who runs a totalitarian regime with extreme censorship and forced-labour camps.

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Trump Kim summit: Pentagon remains 'ironclad' after war games cancelled

  • 12 June 2018
p069w1tz.jpg
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Media captionTrump Kim summit: Win-win, or a Kim win?

The Pentagon has reassured allies of its "ironclad" security commitments, after President Donald Trump cancelled its Korean military exercises.

Mr Trump made the announcement after historic talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore - the first such talks between the two countries.

The drills - often called "war games" - are held in South Korea with local forces and US soldiers stationed there.

The cancellation is seen as a significant concession to North Korea.

The Kim-Trump summit meeting centred on nuclear disarmament and reducing tensions concluded with a one-page agreement.

In the press conference afterwards, however, Mr Trump added another announcement: the cancellation of the war games.

Image copyright Reuters

He also said he wanted to bring US troops home - although he did not specify a timeframe.

Mr Trump said the drills were "provocative" - even though the US has previously defended them - and there were suggestions that US allies in the region had not been forewarned of this move.

Did the Pentagon know?

The previous day US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters he did not believe that troop levels were on the agenda. When asked if he would know if such discussions were planned, he said, "Yeah, I sure would."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are thousands of US soldiers in South Korea

However, the Pentagon has since denied that Mr Mattis was caught off guard. He was consulted ahead of time, said Pentagon spokesperson Dana White.

In a statement sent to the BBC, she said: "Our alliances remain ironclad, and ensure peace and stability in the region."

How did South Korea react?

Earlier, South Korea's Presidential Blue House said it needed "to find out the precise meaning or intentions" of Mr Trump's statement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone with Mr Trump for 20 minutes late on Tuesday, but an official readout of the call made no mention of military exercises, according to Reuters news agency.

What are the war games?

The US maintains around 30,000 troops in South Korea and once a year it brings in others - typically from its Pacific base in Guam - to join large-scale drills.

North Korea sees the annual exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, but the government in Seoul maintains they are defensive in nature.

Mr Trump said scrapping them will save a "tremendous amount of money", but he added that they could be reinstated if co-operation from the North declines.

What else did they agree at the summit?

The summit began with a handshake, unimaginable just months ago.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim - who traded vicious insults last year - gripped each other's hands in front of US and North Korean flags.

After a one-on-one meeting, followed by wider talks with advisers and a working lunch, they presented their agreement.

It said the two countries would co-operate towards "new relations", while the US would provide "security guarantees" to North Korea.

Mr Kim also "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

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Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionTrump: "The past does not have to define our future"

Observers say the document lacks substance, in particular on how denuclearisation would be achieved.

However, speaking to reporters after, Mr Trump said:

  • Mr Kim had agreed to denuclearisation being "verified", a key US demand ahead of the meeting
  • Mr Trump said Mr Kim had also agreed to destroy a "major missile engine testing site"
  • But he said sanctions would remain in place for now and argued "we haven't given up anything".

Several reporters asked whether Mr Trump had raised the issue of human rights with Mr Kim, who runs a totalitarian regime with extreme censorship and forced-labour camps.

The US president said he had, and repeated his description of Mr Kim as "talented".

Politics turned upside down

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Two years ago Barack Obama travelled to Cuba - and was roundly denounced by conservatives for breaking bread with totalitarian leaders and praised by liberals for his statesmanship. Now, with Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un, the tables have been turned. Mostly.

On conservative Fox News and among Mr Trump's core supporters, the president was lauded for a historic diplomatic breakthrough. Among Democrats, there was more than a fair amount of concern that the president was engaging in a glorified publicity stunt with little chance of success.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption South Korean newspapers reporting the Trump-Kim summit

Republicans in Congress have been more measured. There was plenty of talk of "historic first steps", in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's words, but concern over how the yet-to-be negotiated verification details will turn out.

A few other conservatives expressed dismay at seeing the US and North Korean flags side-by-side, and viewed Mr Trump's solicitous manner and warm words for Mr Kim as too much, given his nation's history of human rights violations.

"Needless to say, we would've wrecked Obama for doing this," tweeted conservative blogger Allahpundit.

Tuesday was the latest reminder that in just 16 months, US - and international - politics have been turned upside down.

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Media captionNorth Korean state TV hasn't mentioned the meeting and showed a cartoon as President Trump spoke
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Trump Kim summit: US president lauds deal despite scepticism

  • 13 June 2018
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US President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on 13 June 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The US president arrived home insisting the world could now sleep easier

Donald Trump has declared that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, following his summit with Kim Jong-un.

The two leaders met on Tuesday, signing a brief declaration on denuclearisation and reducing tensions.

After arriving back in the US, the president also tweeted that "everybody can now feel much safer".

However, the credibility of that claim is in doubt. Many observers say the agreement does little to reduce North Korea's stockpile of weapons.

Under the deal, the North retains its nuclear warheads, the missiles to launch them and has not agreed to any specific process to get rid of them.

Pyongyang has celebrated the summit as a great win for the country.

At a news conference after the meeting in Singapore on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would lift sanctions against North Korea once "nukes are no longer a factor".

He also announced an unexpected end to US-South Korea military drills.

p069w1tz.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionTrump Kim summit: Win-win, or a Kim win?

The move - long demanded by Pyongyang - has been seen as a major concession to North Korea and appeared to take US allies in the region by surprise.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has arrived in South Korea to discuss this decision and the details of how denuclearisation could be achieved.

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