US President Trump and North Korea's Kim shake hands ahead of historic first summit

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

President Donald Trump shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at 9:05 am local time at the Capella Hotel resort on Singapore's Sentosa Island on Tuesday, marking the start of a historic summit that brought sitting leaders of the two countries together for the first time.

The men greeted each other with extended hands in front of a row of US and North Korean flags -- a previously unthinkable sight that reflects a new chapter in the two countries' acrimonious relationship.

Trump patted Kim on the back and later placed his hand on the North Korean's shoulder as they walked into one-on-one talks.

"I feel really great. We'll have a great discussion," Trump said at the beginning of the meeting.

"This will be tremendously successful," he continued. "We will have a terrific relationship"

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim alluded to the longstanding enmity between his country and the United States.

"There were a lot of obstacles on the way here," he said, "but we overcame them all."

Trump nodded in agreement.

Earlier on Monday, Trump tweeted against those who opposed his meeting with Kim.

"The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the US, say the haters & losers," he tweeted. “We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle launches have stoped, and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!"

Trump and Kim are participating in a one-on-one meeting, with translators only, followed by an expanded meeting including their top advisers and a working lunch.

It is unclear how successful the meeting will be and what demands either leader will make, if the negotiations even get that far.

According to the White House, the discussions between the US and North Korea are "ongoing and have moved more quickly than expected."

The White House says that the United States' delegation at the larger meeting will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House chief of staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

According to CNN, the US goal for the meeting is "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization," also commonly known as CVID. Although North Korea has also mentioned denuclearization as a possible outcome of the talk, the country's motives are "less clear," CNN reported.

Trump initially announced plans to carry out discussions over several days, but the White House said on Monday that he plans to depart after one day of talks, according to the Associated Press.

A US official confirmed to CNN Trump's departure was moved up by more than 12 hours because Kim set his own departure for shortly after the summit, as first reported by Bloomberg. The official cautioned, however, that the schedule could always change if meeting goes well and there is more to discuss. The meeting is intended to be "start of a relationship," the official said, and there could be more to come between both sides if things go well.

The world will be watching the highly anticipated summit, which follows a year of escalating rhetoric from both sides.

Tensions between the two leaders escalated in August 2017, when Trump warned Kim against making further threats against the United States and vowed that if he did not, North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

Not long after that, at a September speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump taunted Kim as a "rocket man" on a "suicide mission," and threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" if Kim did not back down from pursuing his nuclear ambitions.

When Kim retaliated by calling Trump a "mentally deranged US dotard," the president suggested Kim was "short and fat" but nevertheless expressed a continued desire to "be his friend."

But more recently, as the two leaders planned their historic sit-down, Trump praised Kim as a "very honorable" and "very open" negotiator. "We're having very, very good discussions," Trump said in April.

Trump added at the time that his upcoming meeting with Kim was "going to be very positive" — but also did not make any promises.

"Maybe good things will happen, and maybe we're all wasting a lot of time," Trump said.

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