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Dealmakers behind next week’s Trump and Kim summit in Singapore

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will meet in Singapore on June 12. There has been much uncertainty over the summit, which was even briefly called off by Trump last month.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2018 18:11 IST
Hannah Dormido, David Tweed and Justin Sink, Bloomberg
Trump Kim summit,Singapore,Trump
Howard, an Australian-Chinese impersonating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Dennis Alan, impersonating US President Donald Trump, meet at Merlion Park in Singapore on June 8, 2018. (Reuters)

Two worlds will collide when Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The 72-year-old billionaire known for his round-the-clock Twitter outbursts will sitface-to-face withthe 30-something Leninist who rarely leaves his isolated nation.

The men represent vastly different countries. Trump commands the world’s largest economy and most powerful military, while Kim leads an impoverished state that hasdiverted scarce resourcesto build a nuclear arsenal to shield the regime from a US attack.

Their diplomatic approaches are worlds apart, too. Trump is known for his volatility and sudden policy reversals, while Kim has methodically played his rivals against each other. So the challenge of bringing the two men together for the first meeting of its kind has fallen to two very different teams.

Trump has repeatedly reshuffled his top national security positions since taking office in January 2017, assembling a coterie of security hawks. Kim will bring to the table a group of proven loyalists and veteran negotiators known to draw a hard line in talks.

The Dealmakers

Andrew Kim, Head of the Korean Mission Centre

After years working on North Korea at the CIA, Andrew Kim has been thrust into the spotlight to head the US agency’s new Korean Mission Centre. He’s a fluent Korean speaker who has gained the trust of senior officials on both sides of the border.

Ri Yong Ho, North Korean foreign minister

Kim Jong Un’s top envoy since 2016, Ri made headlines in September when he suggested North Korea could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Atlantic and dubbed Trump “President Evil” in a United Nations speech.

How the US and North Korea Stack Up

It’s far from clear if the two sides can strike a deal that will see Kim JongUn relinquish his nuclear weapons and finally end the Korean War. Even an agreement to meet again might prove a good outcome for the world.