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Pompeo says Trump can offer North Korea security assurances unlike any in the past

Noah Bierman, Victoria Kim and Matt Stiles, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

SINGAPORE -- On the eve of a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dangled new security concessions while publicly downplaying expectations that the nuclear summit will lead to anything beyond future talks.

As senior U.S. and North Korean negotiators huddled all day in working-level talks, Pompeo highlighted the extraordinary nature of the rushed Singapore summit, which brings a mercurial U.S. president and an erratic North Korean dictator face to face for the first time to haggle over the apocalyptic threat of nuclear war.

"There are only two people that can make decisions of this magnitude, and those two people are going to be sitting in a room together tomorrow," Pompeo told reporters here Monday.

Several hours later, Kim made clear he was tired of waiting, so the normally secretive autocrat found an unexpected way to soften his image and make fresh headlines: He went sightseeing for an hour.

Kim's motorcade left his heavily fortified luxury hotel shortly after 9 p.m. and headed to some of the busiest tourist destinations in downtown Singapore, including the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Jubilee Bridge.

Surrounded by his entourage, a throng of bodyguards and Singapore government officials, Kim took in the sights and basked in camera flashes, greeted by a curious and buzzy crowd everywhere he went.

He even posed, smiling, for a selfie snapped by Singapore's foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan.

It was a scene unthinkable in the history of his reclusive nation, where for seven decades, his father and grandfather were only seen in staid, staged images issued by state media.

Trump spent a quiet evening largely out of sight.

The White House said the preliminary talks "have moved more quickly than expected" and that the summit, which will include a working lunch, would wrap up in one day. It said Trump will leave Singapore on Tuesday night rather than staying until Wednesday as originally planned.

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