Kim summit: China plays an important role

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SINGAPORE:US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to land in Singapore today within hours of each other in advance of a historic summit over the reclusive country's arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The fighting ended on July 27, 1953, but the war technically continues today because instead of a difficult-to-negotiate peace treaty, military officers for the USA -led United Nations, North Korea and China signed an armistice that halted the fighting.

The North Korean leader shook hands with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan shortly after arriving at Singapore's Chagi airport.

Trump and Kim are set to meet in two days at the Cabella Hotel to discuss denuclearisation of North Korea, in exchange for economic help.

A direct flight from Pyongyang landed in Singapore on Saturday, raising speculation that a delegation of North Korean officials had joined an advance team headed by Kim's close aide, Kim Chang Son, who was in Singapore to prepare for the talks.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be meeting Kim later on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Any deal would likely depend on North Korea's willingness to open its facilities for inspection.

But since taking power in 2011 after his father's death, the youthful Kim has displayed a mixture of ruthlessness, pragmatism and statecraft to get this prize: to sit across the table with the leader of the United States and be treated as an equal.

"In the last few years, it's been building nuclear weapons".

Kim's journey from worldwide pariah to being regarded as a responsible head of state has taken just a few months.

North Korea announced it had achieved that capability late past year.

"But going into this, Trump. he's going to come up with a deal that North Korea can't refuse". Trump has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty.

In late April, 12 lanky male bodyguards made global headlines after they surrounded Kim Jong Un's Mercedes-Benz vehicle and jogged alongside it whenever the North Korean leader moved across the border. He has been accused of ordering the killing of his uncle, who was shot by a firing squad using anti-aircraft guns, and his half-brother, who could have been a challenger and was poisoned with a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. Cho added Singapore wouldn't have a hard time providing a secure location for North Korea as the country is often named one of the safest in the world.

It's unclear what Trump and Kim might decide Tuesday.

But this year, things have changed at a head-spinning pace.

After a flurry of contacts between the two Koreas, South Korean officials suggested to Trump in March that Kim would be willing to meet face-to-face.

The North, many experts believe, stands on the brink of being able to target the entire USA mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the US and the North.

Just a week before his April visit to the demilitarised zone (DMZ) for his first summit with Moon, Kim declared an end to nuclear testing, effectively ending his byungjin twin strategy that pursues nuclear prowess alongside economic development.

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