Trump Kim summit: North Korea sees 'new relationship' with US

North Korean media have raised the possibility for the country to 'establish a new relationship' with the United States, ahead of the two leaders' historic summit on Tuesday 

The two leaders are to meet on Tuesday
The two leaders are to meet on Tuesday

North Korean media have raised the possibility that the isolated country could “establish a new relationship” with the United States.

North Korean and American officials have met in Singapore to narrow differences between the two countries, as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un prepare for their historic summit in the city-state on Tuesday.

North Korea spoke of establishing a new “permanent peace-keeping mechanism” and its state-run news agency hailed a “new era” in relations with the US, while Trump tweeted on Monday about how pleased he was to be in Singapore.

“Excitement in the air!” he wrote in a tweet.

The comments mark a shift in tone from North Korea after decades of animosity towards the US.

Trump hopes the meeting will kick-start a process that eventually sees Kim give up nuclear weapons, but North Korea's perspective has always been more opaque.

The format for the historic talks, at a luxury island hotel, is still far from clear. US officials said that the first session of the Tuesday morning talks would be between two leaders alone with translators but no advisors and aides. They would enter the negotiating room only after that first one-on-one session was over. The official said it was unclear how long that first session would last.

It was reported that Kim planned to fly back to North Korea in the early afternoon on Thursday, leaving very little time for actual negotiations, although there is still considerable uncertainty about what a deal between the leaders would look like.

Kim Jong-un arriving in Singapore ahead of the summit. (Photo: SINGAPORE/MOCI)
Kim Jong-un arriving in Singapore ahead of the summit. (Photo: SINGAPORE/MOCI)

The Pyongyang regime envisages denuclearisation as a gradual and somewhat amorphous process, in which both sides take phased reciprocal steps to defuse tensions with the ultimate but distant goal of nuclear disarmament.

The Trump administration has previously insisted on “complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament” (CVID) of North Korea, with the emphasis on unilateral steps by Pyongyang rewarded by US security assurances. The negotiating stance has been significantly softened in the run-up to the summit, accepting open-ended negotiations involving multiple future summits.

The North Korea state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said Tuesday’s meeting would discuss “wide-ranging and profound views on the issue of establishing new DPRK-US relations, the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula.”

Kim met the Singaporean prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, briefly on Sunday, smiling broadly as the two posed for photographs.

 “The entire world is watching the historic summit between [North Korea] and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts ... we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit,” Kim told Lee through an interpreter. Trump is expected to meet Lee on Monday.

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