The historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump is currently underway, after it started at 9 a.m., local time, that is 10 a.m. here in South Korea.
For more on this, our Lee Ji-won, who is part of Arirang's special Singapore Summit Coverage Team is out there in the city state for us.
Ji-won, tell us more about how the summit is proceeding.
Jiyoon, we are now three hours into the summit.
And the two leaders are now having their expanded meeting with their closest aides by their side.
The U.S. delegate includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor John Bolton. And for North Korea, they are Vice chairman of North Korea's ruling workers party central committe, Kim Yongchol, vice chariman of the ruling Workers party Ri Su-yong and foreign affairs minister Ri Yongho.
The talks began slightly before 10 a.m. local time, and is scheduled for an hour and half, so theres about thirty minutes left of that meeting.
Now, if the earlier meeting of one-on-one between Kim and Trump was to see each others' sincerity and determination to commit in what would be a historic deal, this expanded meeting is where the two sides will finalize, and make the complete version of a possible joint declaration for today's summit.
And after this the two sides will hold a working lunch, which will be joined by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, National security council senior director for Asia Matt Pottinger and Ambassador Sung Kim, a former nuclear negotiator who had been at the forefront of working level talks with the North until the very last day. But we do not know yet who will be joining from the North.
And that lunch will be the last schedule for this historic summit, but there is still a possibility for it to be extended, like we all thought it was going to be, considering the optimistic and hopeful atmosphere shown awhile ago.
And to do so, Kim Jong-un will have to reschedule his flight, as he is expected to fly back to Pyongyang at 2 p.m., according to Reuters.
Now, while Trump is scheduled to hold a press briefing in the afternoon and return to the states at 8pm, bloomberg said, citing a U.S. official, that he was willing to stay longer in Singapore depending on how the summit goes. But they say the revelation of Kim Jong-un's surprisingly early departure also prompted Trump to schedule his flight earlier.
Can you tell us more about their first historic encounter
Sure. The historic moment happened at 9-04 exactly. Now, when they shook hands, the two had firm faces but it wasnt anything negative, but more, like careful friendliness.
And this was shown further when trump gently and friendly touched Kim numerous times, like patting Kim on the back, as they made their way to the summit room.
And while their first encounter is significant in itself,.. there's more to talk about in their first encounter. It seemed like much effort had been made to put the leaders on the same level, neither of them having upper hand or more power.
The two leaders, entered at the exact same time from each end, to meet at the very center.
And that scene is probably what North Korea has wanted for a long time, as it has been wanting to be seen as an equal partner to the U.S.
Once they were in the room, they both took turns to make short comments on the summit.
Unlike the uncertainties that was raised before this moment, Trump was very optimistic that the meeting will be tremendously successful. He also said that they will have a terrific relationship ahead, and that it is an honor to meet Kim.
And I think that this was Trump's efforts to start the meeting on a positive tone, considering how it is not easy for someone to speak so highly of the other, after their years long adversaries and looming uncertainties over today's summit.
Now, Kim mentioned briefly on their past relations, saying how it was not easy for them to come all the way upto where they are now. But by saying that they are now here, after overcoming all the prejudice and obstacles, Kim also expressed a very future-oriented optimistic tone towards this meeting.
And with that the two leaders started their 45 minute long one-on-one meeting with only the interpretors.
We're guessing that it would've been an opportunity for the two leaders to have exchanged their deep opinions.
Okay. So can you tell us more about what this historic in the making is about?
Sure Jiyoon. We're hoping that this deal would once and for all put a definite end to North Korea's nuclear programs. There have been numerous agrements made before, but they all failed mainly for lack of trust for each other. And while the U.S. is asking the North for a complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization or CVID, the North too is asking a complete, verifiable, irreversible security guarantee also known as CVIG. Now we did hear from inside sources that there was a conflict between the two sides on putting CVID down on paper as the North sees it as portraying the regime as a defeated country.
We also heard that the two had issues in the dismantling process of North Korea's nuclear weapons. The US seeks to take out all of North Korea's ready made nuclear materials.
But with Pyongyang also firm on what it wants,.. including establishing diplomatic ties with the U.S., setting a peace treaty, and lifting economic sanctions, I guess the two sides have good enough cards to give and exchange to each other.
And hopefully we'll see a satisfactory outcome today.