Singapore abuzz with preparations for Trump-Kim summit

From left South Korea's National Defense Minister Song Young-moo U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera join hands before their trilateral meeting at the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studi

The White House said on Monday that a first meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place at 9:00 am Singapore time (11am AEST) on 12 June. An adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in recently suggested the answer might be yes.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, an anti-nuclear-weapon organization, has also expressed willingness to cover North Korea's summit-related expenses, saying over the weekend that it would gladly chip in part of the more than $1 million cash award from its 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to contribute to the landmark event.

In either of his two recent meetings with Kim in North Korea - one on April 1 as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the other on May 9 as secretary of state - Pompeo urged Kim to address the abduction issue, according to the sources. Trump said it could be discussed prior to the summit.

These changes are in addition to Army Gen. Kim Su-gil's replacement of Kim Jong-gak as director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army.

"Whether that suits the North Korean side, time will tell, " Peskov said, with definitive details on the proposed meeting still to be confirmed.

But efforts may have been frustrated, owing to North Korea's lack of cooperation with initial US weapon demands, a South Korean foreign ministry official told the paper.

""This is a historic meeting, and once in a generation opportunity" to help establish a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons," Kawasaki told Reuters by telephone from Tokyo.

Behind the rationale lies Washington's belief that USA military presence in South Korea is crucial to maintaining military supremacy in the East Asia, where the U.S. faces growing assertiveness from China, Kim added. "One thing they do is rotate people around, so nobody gets too comfortable", said Tharp. They are not going anywhere.

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US Defense Secretary Jim Matttis. Under the current cost-sharing agreement signed in 2014, South Korea provides $830 million per year for the upkeep of USA forces.

South Korea may not share that same level of support for a strong US military presence in the region, if the Korean Peninsula becomes a nuclear free zone.

"If North Korea completely gives up its nuclear program, a partial reduction in the size of US military presence in South Korea is inevitable. Therefore, I think North Korea could accept the USFK's presence as long as it doesn't take aim against it", said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the National Korea Diplomatic Academy.

Kim Yong-chol met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and hand-delivered a letter directly from Kim Jong-un to Trump.

Other security experts such as the Sejong Institute's Cheong expect the U.S.

The Fullerton was North Korea's lodging of choice, the Washington Post has reported. The rogue regime is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival, while Kim has said he plans to focus on economic development. The U.S. "maximum pressure" policy cited the potential ICBM risk to justify its threat of military action, along with economic sanctions against Pyongyang.

They also insist in the letter that North Korea commit to "robust compliance inspections" that "including "anywhere, anytime" inspections" of both declared and non-declared "suspicious sites".

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