June 11 (UPI) — Shortly after President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore to prepare for his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, White House officials said Monday it’s optimistic a shift in U.S.-North Korean policy is coming.
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. Tuesday, or 9 p.m. Monday EDT. A second meeting on Tuesday is expected by U.S. officials in Singapore, but not confirmed by North Korean officials.
Trump’s administration is optimistic about the summit, as it cited a report Monday from North Korean state media outlet KCNA that said the meeting offers an opportunity to build “a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism” and denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
Officials hope the report from KCNA, typically a vehicle for North Korean denunciation of U.S. policy, suggests improving relations after decades of hostility from Pyongyang 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 and Kim arrived in Singapore Sunday, at different 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.”
Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2018
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.