Trump, Kim shake hands to open momentous summit

Industry observers Peaceful North Korea can expand India's Act East markets

As President Trump prepares to participate in an historic summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, progress in relations between the two countries could open investment opportunities for US companies. But in the hours before the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore earlier than expected - Tuesday evening - raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

It wasn't immediately clear what specific progress, if any, had been made in preliminary discussions between USA and North Korean officials in the run-up to the Tuesday summit.

Kim Jong-un and Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (left) take selfies on the Jubilee bridge.

"President Moon and President Trump agreed Trump and Kim will be able to make a great achievement if the two leaders come together to find a common denominator through frank discussions", Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eu-kyeom told reporters. On the eve of the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with USA and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

Even so, the summit continues to be a sensitive topic in North Korea and it is hard - even more so than usual - to get people to express opinions about it.

The hotel's lavish 47 Singapore dollar ($35) per person buffet breakfast costs about the same as what most North Koreans earn in a month.

North Korea will probably agree to some non-binding reference to the aspiration of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, as happened with the 27 April North Korea-South Korea summit joint statement.

Addressing reporters on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to keep expectations in check, saying: "We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks".

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"If diplomacy does not move in the right direction.those measures will increase", he said. U.S. officials scheduled to take part in Tuesday's expanded meeting will include Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Kim and Trump will sit down for discussions over North Korea's nuclear arms program on Tuesday.

Trump has enjoyed all the attention attached to his unprecedented sit-down with Kim, basking in suggestions that he might be a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize. Flanked by bodyguards, Kim also visited the Marina Bay Sands resort.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim arrived in Singapore on Sunday, both staying at luxurious and heavily guarded hotels less than one kilometre, with Mr Trump at the Shangri-La Hotel and Mr Kim at the St Regis Hotel. But, if that cannot be achieved at a price that South Koreans, Chinese, and the American public can accept, then something like a comprehensive, verifiable cap on North Korea's most unsafe activities and capabilities would make everyone more secure than the alternatives of war or resumed expansion of North Korea's arsenal. James Clapper, the former U.S. director of national intelligence, acknowledged in The New York Times that asking North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons as a precondition for better relations with the United States - the longstanding policy of several USA administrations - is a "dead end".

President Trump holds up the menu as he attends a lunch with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore on June 11, 2018.

Negotiators from the United States and North Korea met on and off Monday to iron out details ahead of the summit, largely ignoring throngs of reporters as they hopped between luxury hotels.

Richard Haass, president of Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank, said that Trump "appears to be embracing the idea of summit as the first step of gradual progress".

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