With both leaders unpredictable and headstrong, today’s summit will have huge implications for security in Asia.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are in Singapore today, where they will hold talks at one of the most watched summits in decades and add another chapter to an extraordinary up-and-down relationship.
Both Trump and Kim will come to today’s summit with different goals and expectations. Mr Trump will likely demand full denuclearisation in return for sanctions relief, while Mr Kim seeks a reduction in the number of US troops in South Korea and Japan.
With both leaders unpredictable and headstrong, today’s summit will have huge implications for security in Asia. An amicable meeting could give rise to a lengthy negotiation process for North Korean disarmament, with sanctions gradually lifted and the Hermit Kingdom’s economy opened to international investment. Alternatively, if the talks turn sour, US-North Korean relations could swiftly deteriorate to the precarious state of 2017, with direct conflict a real possibility.
Watch for Trump and Kim to discuss a formal end to the 1953 Korean War, which could provide an uncontroversial and amicable starting point for what will be tricky negotiations.