Asia

Trump-Kim meeting: Preparations going well, says US

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump Image copyright EPA
Image caption The leaders will meet in Singapore on 12 June but few details have yet been made public

The US has said preparations for the 12 June between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore are going well.

The White House said the two men would first meet at 09:00 local time and that Mr Trump was receiving daily briefings.

But it said sanctions would not be lifted against North Korea unless it gave up its nuclear weapons.

With one week to go to the summit, hosted by Singapore, remarkably few details have been publicly confirmed.

It remains unclear exactly where in the city state the two will meet.

Discussions on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula are expected to be high on the agenda, although some analysts have speculated that a formal end to the Korean War is also on the table.

There was initially much uncertainty over whether the summit would go ahead at all, and it was briefly called off last month by Mr Trump after a dispute with the North Koreans.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday that the president "has been receiving daily briefings on North Korea from his national security team".

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Media captionUS-North Korea: Trump gets an unusually large letter

"And I can also tell you the schedule tentatively for that first meeting will be on June 12 at 9am Singapore time." That time is 01:00 GMT and 21:00 Tuesday 11 June in Washington.

'Sanctions remain in place'

Asked if the US would continue with Mr Trump's policy of placing "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang, Ms Sanders said that view had not changed.

"We have sanctions on, they are very powerful and we would not take those sanctions off unless North Korea denuclearised."

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Media captionSingapore has been getting ready for the US-North Korea summit

Mr Trump has credited his "maximum pressure" policy with bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.

But after meeting a senior North Korean official in Washington last week, he said he did not want to use the term anymore, because the two sides were "getting along".

He said as North Korea was being more co-operative he would hold off on imposing new sanctions.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea has been engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made an unexpected visit to Pyongyang and the two countries are now making plans for Mr Kim to visit Moscow later this year.

Russia said it did not want to interfere in the diplomatic efforts of the US.

Over the weekend, North Korea said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was planning a state visit to North Korea as well.

Warning over 'bad deal'

Pyongyang's offer to attend direct talks with Washington came unexpectedly after a thaw between North and South Korea earlier this year.

But while top level summits commonly require months of preparations, the run-up to the Trump-Kim summit has been marked by very little time and visible diplomacy.

There have been concerns this could jeopardise the meeting.

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Media captionThe nuclear word Trump and Kim can't agree on

US Democrats have urged Mr Trump not to waste the opportunity presented by the meeting.

In a letter to the president, seven influential Democrats warned that any outcome that would ease sanctions without a verification of Pyongyang's efforts to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal was "a bad deal".

"As we approach what could be a historic summit I'm concerned that the president lacks a real strategy in place on North Korea and risks squandering a potentially historic opportunity, putting our security and that of our allies at risk," Democrat Senator Robert Menendez of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told reporters.

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