Trump, Kim in Singapore for historic summit

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SINGAPORE — Fresh from a contentious global economic summit meeting with United States' oldest and closest allies, President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday for his historic on-again-off-again meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

With the nuclear future of North Korea and the security of the entire region at stake, the encounter will be the first ever between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

Just over two weeks ago, it seemed that the summit meeting was not going to happen. A few months ago, the two countries even seemed close to the brink of war.

But on Sunday, Trump arrived just after 8:20 p.m. local time at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore aboard Air Force One, a few hours after Kim landed at Changi Airport on a commercial Air China plane.

Trump, who has declared that he did not need to prepare for the two-day meeting, will pit his negotiating skills against the leader of one of the world's most isolated countries. Some analysts fear it will be a meeting of mismatched expectations, with Trump expecting denuclearization from North Korea in return for helping the impoverished nation improve its economy.

Trump has questioned the need for a strong U.S. military presence in Northeast Asia. Most analysts do not believe that Kim is prepared to give up his weapons.

But as part of his trust-building steps to get the United States to the table, Kim appeared to blow up his country's nuclear test site, in Punggye-ri in northeastern North Korea, in May, and said he would put a moratorium on long-range missile tests.

Trump flew straight from the Group of 7 meeting in Canada, where he had cut short his attendance and then refused to join a joint statement with the allies.

This is the farthest Kim has traveled since taking power in 2011.

The North Korean leader and Trump are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Kim landed a little after 2:30 p.m. and was greeted at the airport by Singapore's foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan.

According to Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Singapore's minister for home affairs, about 5,000 police officers and emergency responders are on duty throughout the events.

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