Trump, Kim shake hands to open momentous summit

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On the eve of the first encounter between a sitting USA president and a leader of North Korea, American officials are maintaining any resulting agreement must lead to an end of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile threats. The focus is on nuclear weapons, and the young autocrat's global standing is likely to be boosted regardless of the outcome.

Heading into Tuesday's summit, the big competing items on the table came down to what by now are popular acronyms, with the United States seeking the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, or CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation), and the North Korean leadership rejecting unilateral nuclear disarmament while seeking its survival, or CVIG (complete, verifiable, irreversible guarantee of North Korea's security).

Singapore police stand guard in front of members of the media outside the Capella Hotel.

On Monday night's The Ingraham Angle, Wallace said that it's "almost surreal" to see Trump and Kim, "who just months ago were launching verbal ICBMs at each other", standing together and shaking hands.

In a briefing with reporters Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not set a threshold for whether there's any terms than North Korea would have to agree to beyond committing to further discussions that would make the summit a success.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore
Trump, Kim shake hands to open momentous summit

"I think that very quickly I'll know that something good is going to happen", Trump said in Canada where we met leaders of other G7 economies.

"I've told people about Kim Jong-un".

USA presidents have always faced a predicament in balancing national security and geopolitical priorities with democratic values. They need to understand that human rights are staying on the agenda of subsequent negotiations, whether they want it or not.

At the same time, he's taken a confrontational path toward Western allies on issues like trade, climate and the Iran nuclear deal.

Other South Korean experts believe Kim's command of English to be significantly stronger, according to UPI, suggesting that he could choose to use English to help smooth communication at the outset of the tense summit with Trump.

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Kim, meanwhile, will be granted a measure of validation from Washington that eluded his father and grandfather.

Beyond the impact on both leaders' political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people - the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North's nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.

It also has two presidential suites, so Trump and Kim won't have to duke it out over who gets the big room.

Kim reportedly spoke in English to greet Trump but the extent of his English skills is unknown.

As the two leaders met, Singapore navy vessels, and air force Apache helicopters patrolled, while fighter jets and an Gulfstream 550 early warning aircraft circled.

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During a quarter-century of on-off negotiations, human rights have played second fiddle for USA administrations seeking to ameliorate the threat posed by the North's nukes, and there's a reason.

Mr Kim was sent off in a ceremony at the Pyongyang airport joined by a group of senior officials, such as Mr Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state, Mr Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the North's State Affairs Commission, and Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju.

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Pompeo said the meeting could provide "an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity" to North Korea.

It's so far unclear whether the USA and North Korea will release some kind of joint statement or agreement following the sit-down. That could generate misunderstandings and a breakdown that risks armed conflict over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

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