When Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un meet in Singapore to discuss the parameters of a deal that would potentially denuclearize North Korea this week, they will be joined by NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, for some freakish reason.
"It's very hard for me to imagine this summit not succeeding", said Robert L. Gallucci, a former chief USA negotiator with the North Koreans, although he acknowledged that a sudden meltdown in Singapore could trigger a quick reversal to the threat-soaked posturing between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim just a year ago.
If it doesn't, it could amp up tensions even more. The North Korean leadership, including Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui has also taunted Washington, calling Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy".
North Korea has previously said it was willing to discuss denuclearization, but experts have expressed concern over the varying definitions of the term held by Washington and Pyongyang.
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.
"We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks", Pompeo said on Monday evening.
TRT World spoke to Mark Shanahan, a lecturer in politics and global relations at Reading University in England, for more.
One of the world's most reclusive leaders, Kim visited Singapore's waterfront on Monday, smiling and waving to onlookers, adding to a more affable image that has emerged since his April summit with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in. In fact, he didn't even say "Canada" until the very last word. The meeting is meant to be "start of a relationship", the official said, and there could be more to come between both sides if things go well. "And it's all within the budget that the prime minister has specified, anyway".
Trump has said that North Korea must decide to "denuke" or there will be no deal and economic pressure on the regime would only intensify. Later in the day, he met with senior advisers and phoned the leaders of Japan and South Korea.More news: Iran Welcomes Ceasefire between Afghan Gov’t, Taliban
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During his meeting, Trump was presented with an early birthday cake.
But US officials have since avoided such lofty declarations.
White House officials have said Rodman will play no official role in the diplomatic negotiations.
About 15 minutes later, hotel staff formed a cordon at the hotel entrance as United States ambassador to Philippines Sung Kim left the hotel.
Singapore's reputation for rigid law and order was seen as a major factor for being chosen to host Tuesday's summit.
His first stop was a waterfront park with futuristic installations, Gardens by the Bay, which boasts the largest glass greenhouse and tallest indoor waterfall in the world.
From there, the two leaders will head to a one-on-one meeting accompanied only by translators, then to a second bilateral meeting with more participants, and finally to a working lunch.
The Tanglin neighbourhood surrounding the Shangri-La Hotel and the entire resort island of Sentosa will be locked down as "special event" areas with security measures such as road closures and spot checks.
Tweeting from his hotel room in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday, Trump sought to heighten the suspense. "The leader's excretions contain information about his health status so they can't be left behind", Yun-keol said. He told reporters he thinks he will know nearly immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: "I will know, just my touch, my feel".