U.S. Says Talks with N.Korea Moving 'More Quickly Than Expected'

Mike Pompeo draws firm line on North Korea as summit hangs in balance

North Korea's Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the tropical city-state on Sunday for the historic meeting, which will be the first time leaders of the two countries have come face-to-face.

Trump was hosted for a working lunch Monday by Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, at the Istana, which is the official residence of the city state's president.

The summit - the first between a sitting United States president and any North Korean Leader - will mark a turnaround of relations between Trump and Kim after a long-running exchange of furious threats and insults.

US President Donald Trump had tweeted before leaving for Singapore saying that "I am on my way to Singapore where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World".

Trump says he thinks "things can work out very nicely" with North Korea on the eve of his historic summit with Kim Jong-un.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the country welcomes any attempt to restore peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula but at the same time is not optimistic that US President Donald Trump would remain committed to his pledges. Trump had earlier tweeted about "excitement in the air!"

Moon has expressed hope that the summit will lead to a three-way declaration also including Seoul to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee.

"The entire world is watching the historic summit between (North Korea) and the United States of America, and thanks to your honest efforts... we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit", Mr Kim told Mr Lee through an interpreter.

The political consequences of the summit have not been lost on Trump or his allies.

US and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, outlining specific goals for what the leaders should try to accomplish and multiple scenarios for resolving key issues, a senior U.S official said, adding that the meetings were also an ice breaker of sorts, allowing the teams to get better acquainted after decades of minimal contact between their nations.

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Mr Kim smiled broadly as he met Mr Lee.

While US officials are hopeful that Kim is prepared to take North Korea in a new direction by agreeing to denuclearization, Kim remains a ruthless dictator who has committed slews of human rights violations, ordered family members executed and spent millions of dollars advancing his nuclear and ballistic missile programs while his people face food shortages and poverty.

Foreign Ministry spokesman noted that "optimistic look at the nature of USA policy is beyond the bounds of possibility, and the recent violations also confirm this".

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, plans another round of meetings on Monday afternoon with North Korean officials as both sides continue to prepare for Tuesday's summit in Singapore.

Hotel staff discouraged other guests from interacting with the North Koreans, or taking their photographs.

The escalating economic clash between Washington and some of its closest global partners cast a cloud over Trump's efforts to score a major foreign policy win in nuclear talks with North Korea, long one of America's bitterest foes.

The upper floors have suites at more than S$5,000 a night and the Presidential Suite, at about S$9,000 a night, according to the hotel's web site.

After concluding the summit, Trump planned to speak to reporters in Singapore before flying home, the White House said.

Both sides also worked to finalize preparations for the unprecedented summit. The two men will first meet one-on-one in a closed session, before a larger meeting with key advisers, USA officials said. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the plans and insisted on anonymity.

She emerged as an influential figure in Pyongyang's opaque leadership in February, when she led a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

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