A one time shot, Trump says of summit with N Korea

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In any case, raising the topic of North Korea's human rights abuses will be necessary as a practical matter. He calls for improved relations and engagement with South Korea, though adds that he has a nuclear button on his desk.

THE stage is set for the summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that could lay the groundwork for ending a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and the transformation of the isolated Asian nation.

However, Trump and his aides insist that a US -led "maximum pressure" campaign of the toughest-ever economic sanctions, diplomatic action and military threats is what has drawn Kim to the negotiating table.

Sporadic provocations by the North have continued while Pyongyang has made increasing advances in its nuclear arsenal, which it says it needs to defend against the risk of a USA invasion.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months, trading insults and threatening war before abruptly changing tack and moving towards a face-to-face meeting. "This is how people are supposed to get along", said Mr Howard. "I think we can presume that North Korea made more demands to Singapore than the United States did in terms of security".

Trump has long leaned on China to convince North Korea to moderate its actions despite protests from Beijing and some experts that China's influence may be overstated.

Officials from South Korea visited a shuttered joint economic project in Kaesong, North Korea, on Friday, part of a government effort to prepare for a possible easing of sanctions.

North Korean soldiers keep watch toward the south in the village of Panmunjom, South Korea, on April 17.

The president is now heading to Singapore for a summit with Kim Jong Un, which Trump said he thinks "is going to work out very well".

Along China's border with North Korea, speculators are buying land and traders are stockpiling cheap North Korean coal amid hopes that restrictions will soon be lifted.

Undergraduate Sher Tay, 20, who chanced upon the event, said: "While I was surprised at how much they resembled the two leaders, I would not pay for a photograph with them". "The people there are so poor, it's like China in the 1980s". Although it was later branded a failure by critics, his aides and a son say the Singapore summit could make his dream a reality: lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. But now, she said, property prices in Dandong were being driven up by speculators betting that trade would revive.

But the plan soon fell apart following the narrow election victory of George W. Bush, who hardened his line against North Korea with the help of Republican conservatives, he wrote. Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea's reluctance to open its doors to outsiders.

It was not clear what happened to the investigations or who the new owner was. "I'd guess about 100 Chinese tourists arrived by train today".

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"I saw them taking a photo of our chairman".

Che said the prospect of new economic opportunities in North Korea has him interested in branching out beyond tourism into investment and coal trading.

Kim's chief of staff was spotted in Beijing last week after wrapping up talks with U.S. officials in Singapore which had included security discussions. Beyond sanctions, US officials say they successfully persuaded more than 20 countries to downgrade or end diplomatic ties with North Korea.

The official media had reported that the two leaders plan to meet, but offered few specifics, including where and when.

Russian Federation has always been skeptical of the sanctions regime, and South Korea's Moon has proposed a three-way study on potential joint projects, including railways, gas and power linking Siberia to the Korean peninsula. In recent weeks he has twice traveled to China to plan for the USA summit. "North Korea tensions resurface, Russian Federation is unlikely to support new rounds of sanctions on North Korea", said Artyom Lukin, a professor at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok.

Though it could mean many things, the relative speed of the reports about Singapore could be seen as a sign of confidence by the North that the summit will go well.

However, the United States is not expecting to get a final deal in Singapore.

Two North Korean restaurants in Jakarta have shut down.

North Koreans who manage to avoid running afoul of the regime still lack basic freedoms.

The sight of Kim Jong Un's motorcade swinging through downtown Singapore unprecedented and historic.

In response to USA pressure, Thailand said annual trade with North Korea fell by 94 percent, although some North Korean businesses have continued to operate in the country, including two restaurants in Bangkok.

At the Pyongyang Haemaji Restaurant, North Korean waitress Pak Il Sim said tables were routinely full of customers, a lot of them Japanese.

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