Before Hard Bargain With The US President, Kim Jong Un Relaxes Himself By Sight Seeing


New Delhi: The world is looking at the one of the important events that will go down in the history when US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will sit down on Tuesday for an unprecedented summit that has raised hopes of progress on the troubled Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, Kim visited some of the city-state's renowned tourist spots like Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands and even took selfies with local top politicians like Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

From Kim's nuclear arsenal to normalising ties between the two decades-old foes, these are the issues facing the two leaders at what Trump has called a "one-time shot" at peace. This is the absolute crux of the summit and there remains a chasm between the two sides that diplomats were scrambling to close on the eve of the meeting.

Washington is demanding the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearistion (CVID) of North Korea. In Trump's words: "They have to de-nuke. If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable." North Korea has repeatedly expressed a commitment to the "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" - notably in a report by state agency KCNA on the eve of the summit - but the term is open to interpretation on both sides and it remains unclear what concessions Kim is prepared to offer.

South Korea estimates the North has 50 kilograms of plutonium, reportedly enough for around 10 bombs, and a "considerable" ability to produce uranium weapons. Previous agreements with the North have subsequently collapsed and experts warn Kim is highly unlikely to give up the "treasured sword" of his nuclear deterrent.

Dismantling a secret nuclear arsenal built up over decades would take several years and be extremely difficult to check, they say. Siegfried Hecker, a noted US nuclear expert, said the immediate CVID of the North was "unimaginable" and "tantamount to a North Korean surrender scenario".

North and South Korea remain technically at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice that Seoul's then leader refused to sign and divided the peninsula along the Demilitarized Zone.

At their summit in April Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to seek a peace treaty and Trump mused earlier this month: "Can you believe we're talking about the ending of the Korean War?"

Seoul announced last week it was in three-way talks with Pyongyang and Washington for an "early" declaration that the war is over. That could precede a full treaty which would raise complex issues needing extensive negotiation, and would need to involve China, which backed the North during the conflict and is a signatory to the armistice.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un unwinded himself on the eve of his historic summit with US President Donald Trump by going for sightseeing in Singapore on Monday, June 11. Kim reportedly did not leave his hotel, St Regis Singapore, till Monday night when suddenly his officials showed signs of urgency and the leader left in a black limousine with his accompanying sister Kim Yo Jong and other aides.

Kim did not hold back from surprising people as he visited some of the city-state's renowned tourist spots like Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands and even took selfies with local top politicians like Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Media analysts said Kim, 34, was trying to relax after a long journey and ahead of a high-pressure meeting with Trump, a mercurial individual, who also flew down a long way from Canada after attending a tense G7 summit.

The two met Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and will meet each other at the Capella Hotel in Singapore's Sentosa Islands. Kim's sudden arrival the popular spots left those presence excited but they could not click his pictures because of a dense security shield accompanying the leader and his entourage. While returning to the hotel, Kim also took a walk near the Merlion, Singapore's famous icon.

This is only the fifth time that Kim has publicly set his foot outside North Korea. The four other occasions were his visit to China and South Korea two times each - all since March this year - to engage with the top leaders of those countries in the run-up to his summit with Trump. Singapore is the furthest the man has travelled since taking over the reins of North Korea in December 2011, after the death of his father Kim jong-Il.


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