Trump and Kim finally Meet in Singapore

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For the first time in modern world history a US president and North Korean president will meet. US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un are meeting in Singapore. The president of arguably the world’s most powerful country will meet the leader of the world’s number one totalitarian regime that is armed with a nuclear arsenal. What could such a meeting hope to achieve? Kim is only interested in having sanctions on his regime lifted so he can improve the income of his state-run economy which is chronically static. Trump who previously had gone out his way to antagonize Kim, could have provoked a nuclear war.

Trump may be trying to use the meeting to gain some sort of agreement that would lead to the North slowing down the development of its nuclear capabilities. However, Pyongyang may not be willing to go all the way. Trump hopes his new role of peacemaker will improve his popularity ratings and also boost his party’s – the Republicans – chances of winning the congressional elections.

Pyongyang, North Korea – North Koreans have gotten their first news that their leader Kim Jong- Un had arrived in Singapore for what even the state-run media was calling a historic meeting with U.S President Donald Trump. The news covered the front page of the ruling party’s newspaper and was the top – and only – item on the first news broadcast of the day on Korean Central Television, which for many North Koreans is the only channel available.

People crowded around poster stands at subway stations in the capital to read the newspapers and gathered at noon in front of the city’s main train station to watch images a big screen display of Kim getting off of the special Air China flight.

The truth is as Kim and Trump meet the whole world will hang on their every word, so there will be immense pressure due to who is watching. Especially in North Korea depending on what the North Koreans perceive in this meeting. Since they don’t have any say in how their “flourishing socialist society” is governed it would be hard to perceive what their personal opinions are. Most of the media in North Korea will paint the meeting in glowing terms.

However, they have also been rather low key about it, to parley hardliners in the political and military establishment who may not be pleased with it.

The Air Flight sponsored by China shows the close influence Beijing has on this Summit.

News apparently travels slowly in North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated nations. North Korea’s state-run media early Monday belatedly announced Kim Jong Un’s departure from Pyongyang and arrival in Singapore – half a day earlier – for his summit with President Trump. The Korean Central News Agency said Kim flew aboard a Chinese jet, not his usual Russian-built aircraft, and would discuss denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula when he meets with Trump on Tuesday. The report said Kim would try to establish new relations between North Korea and the United States, saying the talks were “required by the changed era.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives Sunday in Singapore. (Terence Tan / Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information)

The news in North Korea is tightly controlled and undergoes a long bureaucratic process so it’s no wonder the announcement of Kim’s departure and arrival was delayed. The president meanwhile will possibly ask Kim what it is he wants as regards to future relations with Washington. Pyongyang may be willing to find a peaceful solution to its conflict with the US, but they may not be willing to completely give up their nuclear arsenal even if sanctions are lifted and other incentives are offered such as economic relief. North Korea is in many ways a nightmarish disaster that would take decades to repair.

Whatever future investments Trump sees there, it can’t be compared to its neighbors such as Japan, South Korea and China. It would take half a century before this Orwellian state could come anywhere near to been considered an Asian tiger. For now, Trump and Kim will be meeting for the first time.