Donald Trump & Kim Jong-un arrive at historic summit in Singapore

Donald Trump & Kim Jong-un arrive at historic summit in Singapore

At a pre-summit briefing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, the issue didn't get a mention.

While Trump and Kim shake hands, searching each other's eyes and words for signs of trust or deceit, the rest of the world will be watching, hoping that somehow these two unpredictable leaders can find a way to defuse one of the planet's most risky flashpoints.

Inside, the hotel, Kim and Trump offered brief remarks. Dismantling a secret nuclear arsenal built up over decades would take several years and be extremely hard to check, they say.

The stakes remain dizzyingly high and the developments are likely to come rapid-fire.

Trump was the first to arrive at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa, a resort island off Singapore's port with luxury hotels, a Universal Studios theme park and man-made beaches. island, a resort. The two leaders will meet one-on-one before being joined by advisers, followed by a working lunch.

In his latest tweet, hours before the summit was due to begin, Mr Trump said meetings between the two sides' officials were "going well and quickly".

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the call. 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". From October 2-4 that year, he and Kim Jong Il met in Pyongyang.

Investors were more focused on the start of a two-day policy meeting of the Federal Reserve, looking for hints as to whether the USA central bank would move to raise rates three or four times this year.

On May 10, Trump announced that he would meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore.

It is an outcome that seemed unimaginable less than a year ago - when Mr Trump and Mr Kim exchanged streams of fiery insults - and North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of the global community.

In September past year Trump took to Twitter amid an ongoing spat with North Korean policy makers, calling Kim Jong Un a "madman".

North Korea Vice-Chairman Kim Yong-chol meets with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 31, 2018, in NY.

But there was no mentioning the previous United States aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization".

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"I just think it's going to work out very nicely", he said during a lunch with Singapore's prime minister on Monday.

USA and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.

Any framework agreement would likely require assurances that Kim could keep his grip on power even without nuclear weapons.

And Kim's commitments did not appear to go beyond what he already pledged to do in April when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in along their countries' border.

But North Korea wasn't always a secret, impoverished nation.

Kim flew to Singapore.

Trump told reporters he would "absolutely" extend an invitation to the White House to Kim, who also heralded a new era.

There is a chance for some history, however.

A formal end to the Korean war may also be discussed. At the end of the Second World War, Korea-once controlled by Japan-was divided in two, with the north occupied by the Soviet Union and the south occupied by the United States.

What didn't: It was revealed three years after the summit that South Korean officials paid the North the equivalent of about $200 million to attend the summit.

The US has warned of a few surefire signs that the discussions aren't going well: if Trump decides to abruptly end the talks shortly after they begin, or if he emerges from the discussion by renewing his call for an worldwide "maximum pressure" campaign.

Mr Trump has said the highly anticipated talks represent a "one-time shot" at peace. "If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable", Mr Trump said ahead of the meeting.

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