Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Singapore summit: Kim's running bodyguards back in action

Singapore summit: Kim's running bodyguards back in action

The meeting comes on the eve of a historic summit between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong Un will undoubtedly get a sense of all that as he arrives. In order to prevent the collapse of the talks and subsequently, North Korea's return to the mainstream after decades of global isolation, advisors (from Washington and Pyongyang) in the meeting must do what they can to steer the discussion in a positive direction.

Trump and Kim Jong-Un have both suggested they could also pursue a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War, which ceased because of an armistice signed in 1953.

Kim seeks relief from crippling economic sanctions imposed by the global community, a non-aggression pact that would guarantee his regime's security, normalization of relations and the eventual removal of the roughly 30,000 USA troops from South Korea. But amid the curiosity is an even more fundamental question: Why is he taking this risk at all?

Security is tight ahead of the summit between two unpredictable men who in the past have threatened to destroy the other's country during the stand-off over North Korea's nukes.

Kim arrived Sunday on a Chinese plane, not his official plane, which is called "Chammae-1" and named after the goshawk, North Korea's national bird.

Bodyguards in dark suits jogged alongside his limousine. However, considering Qaddafi's killing in the 2011 uprising, backed by Western powers, this entire scenario has been viewed by the North Korean government as the wrong example to emulate. Some analysts said a Kim commitment to specific negotiations on denuclearisation could well be enough for Tuesday's summit to be a success.

A large limousine with a North Korean flag could then be seen surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted window as it sped through the city's streets to the St Regis Hotel, where China's President Xi Jinping once stayed. How can such rallies take place there?

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in was instrumental in facilitating the summit and has staked much of his political capital on a rapprochement with Pyongyang.

After a 24 hour break from Twitter as he traveled to Singapore and settled into his hotel, around 9 a.m. local time on Monday (Sunday night in the U.S.), Trump threw some more punches at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, continuing his trade-related feud with the United States' closest allies.

A North Korean cargo plan also flew to Singapore, likely carrying supplies an equipment for the delegation.

Ha Yeon Kim, who has interpreted for TIME, says that while she was translating the 2016 USA presidential election campaign into Korean for Seoul television station Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), she was surprised by the often "very non-presidential" language Trump directed at Republican candidate Jeb Bush and others.

Mr Kim's summit with Mr Trump has captured intense global attention after a turn to diplomacy in recent months replaced, for the time being, serious fears of war previous year amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

Traditionally, in meetings between world leaders, officials from both sides reach an agreement before the leaders sit down together.

The summit has been portrayed as a "get to know you" meeting. Why only potentially? That's because these two world leaders are not, strictly speaking, known to be very diplomatic - that is to say that they are in no manner of speaking, known to be very diplomatic at all.

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