Summit mania on eve of meeting

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un center is escorted by his security delegation as he visits Marina Bay in Singapore. | AP

They also updated North Koreans on Kim's meetings before the main event with President Trump.

Despite the White House releasing on 24 May a letter from US President Donald Trump to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un stating that Trump was withdrawing from the summit, preparatory talks resumed and Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore on 10 June.

It was not immediately clear what specific progress, if any, had been made in preliminary discussions between USA and North Korean officials.

In return for the tight, comprehensive and verifiable cap on its nuclear arsenal, the DPRK would for now get to keep the weapons it has already tested to leverage the United States and others to fulfill commitments they would make to normalize political relations, remove sanctions, and facilitate economic development. United States officials have already established a contingency plan for a two-day summit should the two leaders agree to an immediate second-round of talks.

But when pressed by reporters, the secretary of state would not say whether or not that could include reduction of the number of or removal of USA troops in South Korea.

The U.N. World Food Programme says a quarter of North Korean children under five, who attend nurseries that it supports, suffer from chronic malnutrition. "We overcame all that and we are here now".

US and North Korean officials have been holding preliminary meetings in the run-up to the Tuesday summit. Kim has been accused of horrific rights abuses against his people.

The war, which ultimately led to the division of the Korean peninsula, saw communist North Korea, backed by the Soviet Union and later China, pitted against South Korea, backed by the United States and a broader UN-led collation.

And as they emerged from the meal for a brief stroll together, Trump appeared to delight in showing his North Korean counterpart the interior of "The Beast", the famed US presidential limousine known for its high-tech fortifications. But he added "our hostages" are back home and testing, research and launches have stopped.

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Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul summed it up: "If Trump can't negotiate a deal on milk with one of our closest allies, how is he going to get a deal on nuclear disarmament with one of our greatest foes?"

Although gaps remain over what denuclearisation would entail, Mr Trump sounded a positive note in a lunch meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Whether Trump and Kim will be able to bridge the gap on this key issue remains the key question ahead of the summit.

As for Singapore, the White House said Trump was leaving early because negotiations had moved "more quickly than expected" but gave no details.

The White House said the schedule begins with a ceremonial greeting, followed by a one-on-one meeting, with only Trump, Kim and translators present.

The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on his way back to Washington.

Trump spoke only briefly in public on Monday, forecasting a "nice" outcome. But in the evening, he left the St. Regis hotel and visited the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

At the Panmun Souvenir Shop on the northern side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, mere yards from where Kim and South Korean President Moon met in April, there is an extensive selection of propaganda posters and postcards decrying the "US Imperialists".

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