US President Donald Trump left his hotel on Tuesday for the historic summit with top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un. In 1948, reunification negotiations failed between North Korea and South Korea, and separate governments were formed, with Kim Il Sung being chosen as the first supreme leader of North Korea.
He accompanied the young leader at all four of his recent summits, twice with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Alluding to the North's concerns that giving up its nuclear weapons could surrender its primary deterrent to forced regime change, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the USA was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with "sufficient certainty" that denuclearization "is not something that ends badly for them".
Siegfried Hecker, a noted United States nuclear expert, said the immediate CVID of the North was "unimaginable" and "tantamount to a North Korean surrender scenario".
Like this story? Share it with a friend! It's aimed at settling a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.
In late March, Trump tweeted with messages of optimism about "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", with mention that Kim would do "what is right for his people and for humanity".
But a trade representative from Pyongyang issued an order on June 9 that there should be no attempts to smuggle goods between China and North Korea and that officials had to report traders' locations every hour during this period, the source said. This narrative, however, is changing as the current leader, Kim Jong Un, becomes more open to the rest of the world, particularly the United States.
"It's a huge win for Kim Jong Un, who now - if nothing else - has the prestige and propaganda coup of meeting one on one with the president, while armed with a nuclear deterrent", said Michael Kovrig, a northeast Asia specialist at the International Crisis Group in Washington. In the summit in April, the first time one of the ruling North Korean leaders crossed over to South since fighting in the Korean War stopped in 1953, saw both the leaders lay the roadmap for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.
GETTY FACE-TO-FACE North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump
Tuesday's meeting, convened at a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa, comes just three months after Trump accepted North Korea's invitation for talks on the spot. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group's traditional closing statement. But there were scant details on what new commitments had been secured from Kim, even as Trump announced he would end the regular military exercises the U.S. conducts with South Korea.
But despite the apprehension over Mr Trump and Mr Kim's one-on-one talks, presidents have long met privately with foreign leaders - including enemies - with only interpreters on hand as witnesses.
"I just think it's going to work out very nicely", he said during a lunch with Singapore's prime minister on Monday.
On the way forward, Pompeo said, "I don't know exactly what the timing will be for our next conversation with the North Koreans". Mr Kim is reported to be flying out even earlier, at 14:00 local time (6pm NZT).
South Korea estimates the North has 50 kilogrammes of plutonium, reportedly enough for around 10 bombs, and a "considerable" ability to produce uranium weapons.
Still, the road to the Singapore talks has been far from smooth.
Officials from the two sides held last-minute talks aimed at laying the groundwork for a meeting that was nearly unthinkable just months ago when the two leaders were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war.