North Korean leader Kim arrives in Singapore

North Korean leader Kim arrives in Singapore

North Korean leader Kim arrives in Singapore

Kim was photographed at the airport accompanied by several of his closest aides, including Kim Yong Chol, who recently traveled to the U.S.to meet with President Trump, and Kim Chang Son, the North Korean leader's de facto chief of staff.

The US delegation, en route from the G7 meeting in Canada, will arrive Sunday evening, and Trump is set to meet with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday.

But since taking power in 2011 on his father's death, the youthful Kim has displayed a mixture of ruthlessness, pragmatism and statecraft to get this prize - to sit across the table with the leader of the United States and be treated as an equal. North Korea spent decades developing nuclear weapons, culminating in the test of a thermonuclear device in 2017.

Kim's journey from global pariah to being regarded as a responsible head of state has taken just a few months. Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea's reluctance to open its doors to outsiders.

But it is Kim's pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Trump such high stakes. Trump has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty. "We might see a similar scale of security personnel from North Korea and safety protocols as we did in April, but they'll also have help from Singapore like special vehicles and agents", said Cho Seong-ryoul, senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy.

It's unclear what Trump and Kim might decide Tuesday.

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Two reporters from South Korean state-run broadcaster KBS returned to Korea on Saturday night, after being accused of criminal trespassing into the residence of the North Korean ambassador in Singapore.

But this year, things have changed at a head-spinning pace. It also successfully tested missiles that had enough range to reach the US mainland.

In his New Year message, Kim extended an olive branch to enemy South Korea, sent a team to the Winter Olympics there in February, and held two summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April and May.

Kim said he would instead put all efforts into jumpstarting economic growth for his country of more than 25 million people.

For Trump, a successful summit will see him achieve badly needed recognition on the global stage ahead of congressional elections in November.

The historic meeting will be the first time a North Korean leader meets a sitting U.S. president and will take place on Sentosa island on Tuesday.

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