June 11 (UPI) — President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore Monday to prepare for this week’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Although the schedule for the summit meeting in Singapore remains flexible, two meetings between the leaders are planned. The first is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, or 9 p.m. Tuesday EDT. A second meeting on Tuesday is expected by U.S. officials in Singapore, but not confirmed by North Korean officials.
Kim arrived in Singapore on Sunday, and Trump on Monday, at separate airports. Each met separately with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Trump told Lee at a luncheon, “We’ve got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow. I think things could work out very nicely. We appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and friendship.”
The White House official cited North Korean state media outlet KCNA, which called the summit an opportunity to discuss the “issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern” as likely topics for discussion.
Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2018
The message from KCNA, typically a vehicle for North Korean denunciation of U.S. policy, may suggest a shift in tone toward optimism after decades of hostility toward the United States.
“I think we should take some optimism from that reporting,” a White House official told ABC News. “Given the history of the way KCNA has reported, I think that is a sign for optimism.”
Trump traveled to Singapore from Canada, where he left the G7 summit early and alienated leaders with a refusal to agree to a post-meeting communique on trade policy. U.S. tariffs against steel and aluminum imported from most of the G7 countries caused the Quebec summit to largely be a critique of Trump’s trade policies. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was vehement is saying that Canada will retaliate with tariffs on U.S. goods.
The G7 summit was seen as a prelude to the Singapore summit by Larry Kudlow, the White House senior economic adviser. Kudlow told CNN on Sunday Trump is “not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around. Kim must not see American weakness.”
Other foreign policy analysts said the failure of the Quebec summit suggests Trump may not be able to strike a deal beneficial to the United States with anyone.
“If Trump can’t negotiate a deal on milk with one of our closest allies, how is he going to get a deal on nuclear disarmament with one of our greatest foes?” tweeted Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Barack Obama administration.