SINGAPORE (AP) — President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un kicked off a momentous summit Tuesday, with Trump declaring the two would have a "great discussion" and Kim saying they had overcome "obstacles" to get to this point.
Before a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, the leaders shook hands at a Singapore island resort, creating an indelible image of two unorthodox leaders as they opened a conversation that could determine historic peace or raise the spectre of a growing nuclear threat.
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Then aides to each were to join for more discussions and a working lunch.Trump and Kim planned to meet one on one for most of an hour — joined only by interpreters.
But even before they met, Trump announced plans to leave early, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.
The first meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was the product of dizzying weeks of negotiations over logistics and policy.
Up early in Singapore, Trump tweeted with cautious optimism: "Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly... but in the end, that doesn't matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!"
In the run-up to the talks, Trump had hopefully predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days.
But on the eve of the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore by Tuesday evening, meaning his time with Kim would be fairly brief.