Stock markets rise slightly ahead of Trump-Kim meeting

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman arrives at Singapore's Changi Airport on Tuesday

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman arrives at Singapore's Changi Airport on Tuesday

At a pre-summit briefing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, the issue didn't get a mention. In the lead up to the summit, North Korea, however, has rejected any unilateral nuclear disarmament, and its reference to denuclearisation of the peninsula has historically meant it wants the U.S. to remove its "nuclear umbrella" protecting South Korea and Japan, which it sees as a threat.

The summit capped a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked USA allies over the weekend by using a meeting in Canada of the Group of Seven industrialized economies to alienate America's closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

For Trump, Singapore represents a golden opportunity to overshadow the negative headlines he generated from a contentious G-7 summit.

Later in the morning, the meeting was expanded to include USA president's chief of staff, national security adviser and secretary of state - as well as members of the North Korean leader's entourage.

He expressed hope that Trump and Kim would be able to make progress.

Washington is demanding the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation (CVID) of North Korea. Kim then called Trump a "mentally deranged USA dotard" and a "frightened dog".

So in the evening, his motorcade started moving, and he ended up stopping by a botanical garden called Gardens by the Bay and then taking a selfie there with the foreign minister for Singapore, and then moved on to the Marina Bay Sands, the iconic three-tower hotel in Singapore itself.

After meeting privately and with aides, Trump and Kim moved into a working luncheon at a long flower-bedecked table.

The air of uncertainty was confirmed by Trump himself.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire US mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the USA and the North. As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.

After a flurry of diplomatic overtures that eased tension, the leaders are headed for a history-making handshake that USA officials hope could eventually lead to the dismantling of a North Korean nuclear programme that threatens the United States. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake.

After Trump's stern speech about North Korea's nuclear weapon program last November, Kim's government responded by calling the US president an "old lunatic" - to which Trump responded by passively calling the North Korean leader "short and fat".

The agreement quickly broke down when the United States froze assets belonging to Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, which was suspected of laundering millions of dollars for the North Korean regime.

"It should go fairly well, but people should not expect so much for the first time", Rodman told reporters at the airport.

"China might have wanted to prevent Chinese smugglers from entering North Korea so they cracked down on smuggling organizations in the border area few days ago and arrested number of smugglers", he said.

The two clasped hands for a long while Tuesday as they posed for photos in front of a row of US and North Korean flags. "I want to bring our soldiers back home", Trump said.

Among those joining the leaders on the USA side were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton.

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