The Trump-Kim peace summit has been downgraded to a half-day

Mike Pompeo draws firm line on North Korea as summit hangs in balance

Trump-Kim summit: US president will leave early as talks 'moving rapidly'

The US president proclaimed "excitement in the air" as he arrived in Singapore yesterday as officials from both countries met to narrow differences on how to end a nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula. The president has consistently predicted success, even as his definition of that has grown foggier.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un are scheduled on 12 June in Singapore to hold the first summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

Both Mr Trump and Kim have been trying to look as relaxed as they can before tomorrow morning's summit.

Mr Pompeo said Mr Trump was "fully prepared" for the talks, and was optimistic that the outcome would be "successful".

"North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearise and we are eager to see if those words prove honest".

It is an extraordinary turnaround from the rhetoric of a year ago, when Trump threatened the North with "fire and fury" and Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged USA dotard".

Totalitarian North Korea's governing ideology of "Juche", which champions self-sufficiency, has brought little but decades of economic stagnation, widespread poverty and, at times, starvation.

USA and North Korean officials were still meeting on the eve of the summit in an effort to bridge the gap between the two countries on how to substantively achieve North Korean denuclearization.

Despite the initial high stakes of a meeting meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-each-other meeting.

Donald Trump has sat down for lunch with his Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In part, these lowered expectations are a reflection of the extreme skepticism among many that the North can be persuaded to give up a nuclear program it has stubbornly built over the decades, often in secrecy and despite intense sanctions, global condemnation and widespread suffering among its people.

Asked Saturday about his goals, he said: "Well, I think the minimum would be relationship".

Mr Trump's first year in office was marked by bitter exchanges between himself and Mr Kim - as North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of the global community.

North Korea's human rights violations have been well-documented: A 2014 United Nations investigation found that the country's regime has committed "unspeakable atrocities" on a scale similar to Nazi Germany.

Kim has offered to deal away his nuclear arsenal but doubts remain over whether he is truly willing to give up his nukes or is using the summit to weaken USA -led sanctions against his country.

"It was possible that we got to this point thanks to President Trump and Chairman Kim's bold decisions". 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".

North Korea news agency KCNA commented on Tuesday's agenda, saying talks would focus on "the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern".

Beyond denuclearization, the two leaders will also approach the issue of officially ending the Korean War, normalizing relations between the two countries and a framework for reaching a denuclearization deal.

The previous United States stance, said Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation, was that "we don't deploy a president to negotiate a treaty, we deploy a president to sign a treaty where we know where every piece of punctuation is on that piece of paper".

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