Top U.S. diplomat gives update ahead of historic Trump-Kim summit

FAN Editor

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected to brief reporters Monday morning in Singapore to give an update on preparations for President Donald Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Watch Pompeo’s briefing live with a CBS News Special Report in the player above, now expected from 5:30 a.m. Eastern.

The two leaders are to meet on Tuesday at the luxury Capella resort on Singapore’s Sentosa Island.

U.S. officials have said the leaders will meet for privately before holding an expanded bilateral meeting with their respective advisers. 

Mr. Trump will become the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader when he sits down with Kim in Singapore. While the ultimate goal for the U.S. is complete, permanent and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, how that might be achieved in these talks remains an open question. 

The president views the meeting as the first of perhaps several meetings with Kim, and the tangible “deliverables” are difficult to forecast. The key question is, “How much precision are both leaders prepared to apply to the aspirations,” as one North Korea analyst put it.

After more than 10 days at the DMZ, the U.S. diplomatic team, led by South Korean Ambassador Sung Kim, left talks with its North Korean counterparts last week without a pre-baked statement or agreed-upon path forward beyond the summit, according to administration officials.

Traditionally, in meetings between world leaders, officials from both sides reach an agreement before the leaders sit down together. This time the outcome will largely depend on the meeting itself and the chemistry between the two leaders, one administration official said. 

The U.S would like to walk away with a signed agreement detailing a path forward, but diplomats and administration officials don’t know whether that will happen.

Kim seeks relief from crippling economic sanctions imposed by the international community, a non-aggression pact that would guarantee his regime’s security, normalization of relations and the eventual removal of the roughly 30,000 U.S. troops from South Korea. These are long-term aspirations that will not be resolved in one meeting. The U.S. has said a formal end to the Korean War needs to be negotiated between the North and South, but this topic is sure to come up.

Analysts argue that North Korea has already notched a win by holding a summit at all — it legitimizes Kim on the world stage. Kim craves modernization and believes that can be accomplished, in part, by foreign investment and trade currently blocked by sanctions. 

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