The Latest: Trump jokes to photographers at summit with Kim

The Latest: Trump jokes to photographers at summit with Kim
The Associated Press

SINGAPORE (AP) — The Latest on the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in Singapore (all times local):

12:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump joked about his appearance as he prepared to sit down to lunch with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Trump said to photographers at Tuesday’s summit in Singapore: “Getting a good picture, everybody? So we look nice and handsome and thin? Perfect.”

A video feed provided by the summit host showed Trump, Kim and their aides taking their places at a long table. Salad courses were prepositioned on the table along with flower bouquets.

Trump took his spot in the middle of the table, and Kim opposite him. Trump was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and a few other aides.

The lunch menu includes beef short ribs, sweet and sour crispy pork, and braised codfish.

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12:15 a.m.

The White House has restricted journalists’ access to parts of President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite long-standing arrangements intended to ensure the public is kept fully abreast of key presidential moments.

Under standard rules agreed to by the White House and the press corps, a full pool of reporters travels with the president at all times and is allowed at any meetings where press access in granted. The group includes media representatives who then pool the information they gather with other news outlets that couldn’t attend.

During the photo-op at the start of Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Kim, text reporters for newswires The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg were kept out of the pool, as were the designated representatives for radio and the foreign press corps.

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12:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have started a working lunch meeting in Singapore.

A video feed provided by the host of the summit showed Trump, Kim and their aides walking into a room and taking their places at a long table. Salad courses were prepositioned on the table along with flower bouquets.

Trump took his spot in the middle of the table, and Kim opposite him. Trump was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and a few other aides.

Independent journalists covering Trump’s summit were not allowed in to witness the start of the lunch in Singapore.

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11:45 a.m.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he “hardly slept” in anticipation of the United States-North Korea summit in Singapore.

Moon and other officials watched the live broadcast of the summit before a South Korean Cabinet meeting in his presidential office Tuesday.

Moon smiled and nodded as he watched President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meet.

Moon has met Kim twice in recent months and helped arrange the U.S.-North Korean summit.

Moon said he “ardently aspires” for the success of the summit and hopes it brings complete denuclearization and peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Fighting in the Korean War ended with an armistice in July 1953. That armistice has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war.

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11:35 a.m.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman says all the pressure is on President Donald Trump in the historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it’s up to Trump to prove he can be trusted by Kim and the North Korean people. The basketball Hall of Famer says it will take multiple visits for the countries to have any hope of a peaceful relationship.

Rodman joked that he should be pushing for the Nobel Peace Prize, or “at least give me a piece of it.” He struck up an unlikely friendship with Kim over their shared love of basketball and has visited North Korea several times but had no official role in the summit.

Rodman says he expects to meet with Trump after the summit.

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11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to chat over a lunch of beef short ribs, sweet and sour crispy pork, and braised codfish.

Details released by the White House show that lunch will begin Tuesday with a prawn cocktail and avocado salad, and green mango kerabu with honey lime dressing and octopus.

Side dishes included potato dauphinois, steamed broccolini, fried rice and Asian vegetables.

Dessert included dark chocolate tartlet and Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.

Among those joining the leaders on the U.S. side were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton. The North Korean delegation included Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to Kim Jong Un who recently met Trump at the White House.

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10:30 a.m.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman says he received a call from the White House ahead of President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman told CNN from Singapore on Tuesday that a White House staffer called the former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant to tell him the president was proud of him.

Rodman struck up an unlikely friendship with Kim over their shared love of basketball, but he says former President Barack Obama never took him seriously.

Rodman described Kim as a “big kid” who wants to see the world. The former basketball player was very emotional in the interview, openly weeping as he spoke.

Rodman is in town for the summit, but the White House had said he will play no official role.

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10:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is sounding optimistic about his ability to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program after a lengthy one-on-one meeting with leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said Tuesday at the beginning of expanded discussions with aides from both countries that “We will solve a big problem” and “a big dilemma.”

He talked about the pair achieving “tremendous success together” and predicts that “it will be successful. It will be done.”

It was hard to hear the president and Kim over the constant clicking of camera shutters, and it remains unclear precisely what he was referring to.

But Kim appeared to echo the president’s optimism.

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9:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that his one-on-one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “very, very good” and that the two have an “excellent relationship.”

Trump and Kim met for about 40 minutes Tuesday one-on-one, joined only by interpreters.

Trump made the comments as he and Kim walked together along balcony as they headed to a larger meeting with aides.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Kim and his team.

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9:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is predicting that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will have “a terrific relationship” as they meet face to face for the first time.

Trump said Tuesday after meeting Kim that he’s feeling “really great.” He says, “We’re going to have a great discussion and a terrific relationship.”

Kim says through an interpreter that it “was not easy to get here” and that there “were obstacles but we overcame them to be here.”

The two men are expected to meet on their own for the better part of an hour, with only a pair of interpreters in the room.

That decision has raised concerns about the risk of holding such a monumental meeting with barely anyone to bear witness.

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9:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are sharing a historic handshake as they meet for the first time.

The two clasped hands for a long while Tuesday as they posed for photos in front of a row of U.S. and North Korean flags. Trump then directed Kim to walk down a hallway, where they briefly spoke.

It’s the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader.

Trump and Kim arrived not long ago on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, the site of their unprecedented summit. It’s aimed at settling a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.

The two will huddle alone for roughly 45 minutes before being joined by aides for a larger meeting and working lunch.

Trump has said he’ll know within minutes whether a deal can be made.

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8:35 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived at Singapore’s Sentosa Island, where he’ll be meeting shortly face-to-face with President Donald Trump.

The two men are expected to share a handshake before they meet alone with a pair of interpreters for roughly 45 minutes while their entourages wait nearby.

After the intimate huddle, they’re scheduled to hold a larger meeting and working lunch. Trump’s chief of staff, national security adviser and secretary of state are among those expected to join.

The meeting is the first sit-down between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader and is meant to settle a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

Trump earlier defended his decision to meet with Kim, tweeting that North Korea has already released three detainees and that missile tests have halted.

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8:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived on Singapore’s Sentosa Island for his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump’s motorcade pulled into the grounds of the Capella Hotel at 8:13 a.m. Tuesday local time.

He is scheduled to meet Kim for the first time at 9 a.m.

Kim is also en route to Sentosa Island for the meeting to discuss the fate of his country’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

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8:15 a.m.

Kim Jong Un’s entourage has left for the luxury Singapore island resort where the North Korean leader will meet with President Donald Trump.

Kim’s black armored limousine with two large North Korean flags was surrounded Tuesday by police vehicles, their lights flashing, and other black cars.

There’s excitement surrounding the summit but also skepticism that the North will relinquish a nuclear weapons program it spent decades building despite crushing sanctions.

Kim and Trump are scheduled to meet alone, with their interpreters, after greeting each other at the resort.

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7:50 a.m.

North Korea’s state media has reported on Kim Jong Un’s late-night tour of Singapore with unusual speed.

Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday filled its front page with photos of his visits to Singapore’s landmarks, including the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands resort.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim as saying that Singapore is “clean and beautiful and every building is stylish” and that he will learn “a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future.”

It’s rare that security-obsessed North Korea reports on Kim’s activities within hours. When Kim visited China for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in March and May, state media didn’t report on the trips until after he returned home.

Some experts say North Korea is trying to keep up with the speed of the Western media in Singapore.

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7:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is sitting down with Fox News host Sean Hannity after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Fox News says the interview will take place Tuesday at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore. Trump and Kim are set to meet on Sentosa Island on Tuesday morning for roughly 45 minutes while their entourages wait nearby.

The interview is set to air on Fox’s “Hannity” at 9 p.m. Tuesday on the U.S. East Coast, which is 9 a.m. Wednesday in Singapore.

Fox News says Trump will talk about the meeting with Kim and future relations between the two countries.

Hannity is a friend and confidant of the president and speaks out in support of Trump on his show.

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6:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the “haters & losers” are complaining that his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is a “major loss,” but he notes that the U.S. has gotten its three captives returned and that the North’s nuclear missile launches have stopped.

Trump tweeted early Tuesday from Singapore, just hours before his face-to-face with Kim.

He says, “The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers.” But he says “our hostages” are back home and testing, research and launches have stopped.

He says, “These pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say!”

Critics have argued that Kim has notched a win by getting a sit-down with the U.S. president.

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5:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says “we will all know soon” whether he can reach a deal with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to end its nuclear program.

Trump is tweeting hours before the leaders’ historic face-to-face that, “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly.”

But he says that, “in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

Before leaving Washington for Singapore, Trump said his gut instincts will guide him when he gets into the room with Kim.

He told reporters he’ll know almost immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: “I will know, just my touch, my feel. That’s what I do.”

Their meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Singapore time.

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4 a.m.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. has picked up no indications that North Korea’s military is in a heightened state of alert in the run-up to the Singapore summit.

Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday that “All’s quiet” in North Korea.

Mattis is declining to discuss his expectations for President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

He says he does not expect it to include a negotiation over reducing the number of U.S. troops in South Korea — currently about 28,000. He says that, at least initially, this is a matter between Washington and Seoul.

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1:45 a.m.

For better part of an hour, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will square off one on one, alone but for a pair of translators. That’s raising concerns about the risk of holding such a monumental meeting with barely anyone to bear witness.

Trump and Kim will meet on Singapore’s Sentosa Island for roughly 45 minutes while their entourages wait nearby.

The huddle will come before a larger meeting and a working lunch attended by top advisers to the president and their North Korean counterparts.

Word of the private meeting unleashed a torrent of criticism on social media from national security veterans who worry the lack of a transcript will create a he-said-he-said showdown that could turn into a major headache for Trump.

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12:40 a.m.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has arrived in Singapore, hours before President Donald Trump is set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first time.

Rodman emerged from the baggage claim area at Changi airport around midnight Monday. He told reporters he wasn’t sure if he would meet Kim in Singapore.

Last week, Rodman said he would “give whatever support is needed” to his “friends” Trump and Kim.

White House officials have said Rodman will play no official role in the diplomatic negotiations. Trump said last week that Rodman had not been invited to the summit.

He is one of the few westerners to have met the North Korean leader on visits to the capital city Pyongyang.

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11:30 p.m.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to seize the opportunity “to support a peaceful, prosperous, secure and verifiably denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”

The U.N. chief is commending the two leaders for pursuing a diplomatic solution and “seeking to break out of the dangerous cycle that created so much concern last year.”

Guterres told reporters Monday ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore that “peace and verifiable denuclearization must remain the clear and shared goal.”

The secretary-general says he wrote to both leaders last month saying “the road ahead will require cooperation, compromise and a common cause.”

He says the U.N. system “stands ready to support this process in every way, including verification if requested by both parties.”

The Singapore Summit news hub is now active on the AP News site and the mobile app. It showcases AP’s overall coverage of the event. It can be found here: https://apnews.com/tag/Singaporesummit

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