THE stage is set for the summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that could lay the groundwork for ending a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and the transformation of the isolated Asian nation. But he says if diplomacy fails to move in the right direction, the sanctions "will increase".
Word does get around, however, and the prospect of a meeting between Kim and Trump had already been on the public's radar. He said that those talks "in fact are moving quite rapidly and will come to a logical conclusion more quickly than anticipated".
Mr Kim's summit with Mr Trump has captured intense global attention after a turn to diplomacy in recent months replaced, for the time being, serious fears of war past year amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests. Mr. Trump is offering security assurances and economic development in return for the complete dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.
Since then, US and North Korean diplomats have been trying to bridge the gap between the two countries' definition of denuclearization.
North Korea has repeatedly expressed a commitment to the "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" - notably in a report by state agency KCNA on the eve of the summit - but the term is open to interpretation on both sides and it remains unclear what concessions Kim is prepared to offer.
"I'm very optimistic that we will have a successful outcome from our meetings tomorrow", he said.
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Also on Air Force One, which is to arrive Sunday evening in Singapore, was White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, other officials of the National Security Council and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Even if North Korea is completely disingenuous and has no intention of getting rid of its nuclear arms, Kim could likely get a deal with Trump to slowly remove the weapons and just wait out the clock until Trump leaves office.
Kim is due to meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later on Sunday, Singapore's ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.
The summit - the first between a sitting U.S. president and any North Korean Leader - will mark a turnaround of relations between Trump and Kim after a long-running exchange of furious threats and insults.
Kim remained ensconced in the heavily guarded St Regis Hotel, where he is staying.
You would never know something as historic as the Trump-Kim summit was about to happen in the city state of Singapore.
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Hundreds of North Korean security experts have no doubt been up nights wondering how to safeguard Kim Jong Un since Trump shocked the world by accepting the North's invitation to meet. He was joined in Singapore by Ambassador Sung Kim, the US envoy to the Philippines; and Ambassador Michael McKinley, a career diplomat Pompeo recently tapped to be his senior adviser.
The summit has been portrayed as a "get to know you" meeting.
There was also no sign of his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has accompanied him to Singapore.
The other area was Sentosa Island, site of the Capella Hotel which will be the venue for the June 12 summit.
The tests culminated in November's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea said could reach the entirety of the United States. The newspaper said the vehicles weren't from a local authorized dealer, which suggests the cars were brought in specifically for the summit and may be used by Kim.
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