President Donald Trump landed in Singapore on Sunday, hours after North Korea’s Kim Jong Un arrived, setting the stage for a summit that, as of two weeks ago, appeared as if it wasn’t going to happen.
Trump told reporters upon landing that he expects Tuesday’s denuclearization talks with Kim to go “very well” — an optimistic outlook that came after talks with the United States’ leading international allies in the Group of 7 meeting in Canada did not go quite as well.
Trump has lately downplayed expectations for the North Korea summit, and Kim himself has reportedly set aside only a few hours for the momentous negotiations. Both leaders are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. local time, with Kim set to depart Singapore five hours later at 2 p.m., according to Reuters.
The president may not negotiate his desired denuclearization deal in five hours, but foreign policy analysts say Kim will walk away from the meeting getting what he wanted — a sense of legitimacy on the world stage.
While Trump may be the first sitting president to negotiate face-to-face with the Kim regime, his predecessors have for decades attempted to work out a denuclearization deal with North Korea, with little success.
There was 1994’s Agreed Framework, entered into by North Korea under the Clinton administration. The deal ultimately fizzled, with North Korea continuing to test its nuclear missiles.
In 2003, there was the “six-party talks” among the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and North Korea, but Pyongyang balked at abandoning its nuclear weapons program.
Newsday’s Laura Figueroa Hernandez takes a look back at some of the past attempts to hammer out a deal with North Korea.
This way and that
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that if the talks don't go in the right direction, sanctions "will increase." But rather than denuclearization posing a threat to North Korea, it would be "the opposite." He said there is "enormous potential" for the summit. In other words, nothing has begun.
As usual Trump, like Kim, hopes to stage a spectacle regardless of the ultimate substance.
‘Special place in hell’
A day after Trump left the G-7 summit early, and took shots at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter, calling him “weak” and “meek,” the president’s top aides also piled on more attacks.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, appearing on CNN, accused Trudeau of “betrayal,” while Peter Navarro, White House trade policy director, told Fox News there was a “special place in hell” for leaders who cross Trump. Their remarks were in response to Trudeau’s comments at a news conference wrapping up the G-7 meeting, where he noted Canada could impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products.
“As Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around,” Trudeau said.
Kudlow said by making those remarks after Trump left the summit, Trudeau “really kind of stabbed us in the back. You don’t walk away and start firing bullets.”
Read the recap from the Sunday talk show circuit by Newsday’s Scott Eidler.
‘Special place in heaven’
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, when asked by reporters about Navarro’s remarks, said: “Canada does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks. We don’t think that that is a useful or productive way to do business.”
Freeland defended Trudeau’s stance on tariffs against the U.S., saying Canada is retaliating in “sorrow,” not in anger,” according to The Toronto Star.
European Council President Donald Tusk joined others in defending Trudeau, writing on Twitter: “There’s a special place in heaven” for the prime minister.
Trudeau, on Twitter, opted against responding to the White House’s line of attacks.
“The historic and important agreement we all reached at #G7Charlevoix will help make our economies stronger & people more prosperous, protect our democracies, safeguard our environment and protect women & girls’ rights around the world. That’s what matters,” Trudeau tweeted.
Janison: Rudy’s turn up the noise tour
Ever since he was tapped to serve as the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani has been on a media blitz, defending Trump against the Justice Department’s Russia probe, while also speaking freely on White House affairs outside the scope of his duties.
Giuliani seems to have freelanced his way into a minefield of Trump-based credibility problems, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
What else is happening
- White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and other White House aides appear to be eyeing the exit door, according to The New York Times.
- Trump’s penchant for tearing up and trashing paperwork appears to be a violation of federal laws requiring the preservation of all presidential paperwork. Enter the staffers tasked with taping the president’s documents back together, via Politico.
- Big name Democrats have been blitzing New York for months, looking to raise funds while raising their profiles for 2020. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Terry McAuliffe and Deval Patrick are among those who have been courting NY donors, reports The New York Times.
- Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were spotted next to the Stanley Cup after several Washington Capitals players took to the town with the trophy to celebrate their victory.
- A “Fox and Friends” co-host issued an apology after inadvertently referring to Trump as a dictator during a segment on the upcoming North Korea talks, reports The Hill.