Selfies, Cheers Greet Kim in Singapore

"We don't know how developed North Korea's secure communications capabilities are, so whether Kim Jong Un will be within easy reach of his National Command Authority during his stay in Singapore is an open question", said Andrew O'Neil, a North Korea nuclear policy expert at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. In a video footage, Trump was seen leaving the Paya Lebar Air Base tarmac in the Presidential Beast, a vehicle that is flown around the globe for a US President's visits.

Trump arrived in Singapore after another meeting with foreign leaders - a group of close American allies.

With few sources of information other than the state-run media, gossip and word of mouth, most North Koreans are still largely in the dark about the momentous - and potentially life-changing - events that are about to take place outside of their isolated nation.

The North has presented Kim's sudden diplomatic overtures to the country's neighbours and the United States as a logical next step and completion of his plan to develop a credible nuclear deterrent in response to what Pyongyang says is a policy of "nuclear blackmail" by Washington.

The United States and North Korea have been in a technical state of war for decades after the eruption of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which pitted U.S. -led U.N. troops backing Seoul against Pyongyang's forces that were aided by China.

The White House released the update Monday morning while announcing the rest of President Trump's schedule.

The secretary of state has traveled to Pyongyang twice to meet with Kim and will participate in the Singapore talks.

Regardless, Trump seemed determined to keep his meeting with Kim low-key, dangling the possibility of a future summit in the US if things go well this week.

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It wasn't immediately clear what specific progress, if any, had been made in preliminary discussions between USA and North Korean officials in the run-up to the Tuesday summit.

Last year, the North made one of the biggest breakthroughs in its missile and nuclear weapons programs - which it says it needs to defend against the risk of a US invasion - when it announced that it had "completed" its state nuclear program after testing a missile capable of striking most, if not all, of the continental U.S.

Trump fired back in a tweet, saying "I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

Security is tight ahead of the summit between two unpredictable men who in the past have threatened to destroy the other's country during the stand-off over North Korea's nukes.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, said Sunday on CNN that Trudeau's criticism had damaged Trump's prestige before the summit - and that's why Trump reacted so strongly.

"If I think it won't happen, I'm not going to waste my time", he said. But Trump has lashed out at reporters for suggesting that the meeting with Kim will result in him giving up any negotiating leverage.

Commuters read news of Kim Jong-un's arrival in Singapore, at a train station in Pyongyang.

  • Rogelio Becker