Trump celebrates birthday during lunch with Singapore PM Lee

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The commemorative coin issued ahead of the US-North Korea Summit.

President Donald Trump arrives in Singapore Sunday for a highly touted summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Asked how long it would take for him to work out if Kim was serious about striking some kind of peace deal, Trump replied: "I think within the first minute I'll know".

Authorities have beefed up security around the hotels where Trump and Kim (Saint Regis) will be staying in central Singapore. The North Korean leadership, including Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui has also taunted Washington, calling Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy". Why only potentially? That's because these two world leaders are not, strictly speaking, known to be very diplomatic - that is to say that they are in no manner of speaking, known to be very diplomatic at all. Trump and Kim lookalikes held a summit of their own at a local shopping mall, while one bistro is offering a libation known as the Trump-Kim "Bromance:" Beer, tequila, diet Coke and the Korean distilled rice liquor known as soju. Others complained about the traffic jams in downtown Singapore.

The cost of hosting around 2000 worldwide media was put at $S5 million, but Lee said the publicity and boost for Singapore's global standing was worth it.

"It is our contribution to an worldwide endeavor which is in our profound interest", he told reporters on Sunday.

Trump added that he believed Kim, half the age of the American president, "wants to do something great for his people".

The cancelled meeting was ultimately resurrected, and now the pair are less than a day away from holding historic talks.

Kim and Trump both arrived in Singapore a few hours apart on Sunday. Their hotels are cordoned off with heavy security.

North Korea and the U.S. appeared on the brink of war a year ago with their leaders trading insults and threats until Kim made a dramatic offer in March to meet Trump and discuss nuclear disarmament, which the United States president quickly accepted. It heralded the summit as part of a "changed era".

Trump met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday at the city-state's presidential palace Istana, where they were expected to discuss everything from summit preparations to the U.S.'s tariff threats.

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Discussions would focus on "the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean peninsula, the issue of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern", KCNA said.

"We suspect it'll be more of a pronouncement in which the two countries express interest in that direction, and then the details will get bogged down", Sen.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire US mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there's deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there's also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the USA and the North.

A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USA side was entering the talks with a sense of optimism and an equal dose of scepticism given North Korea's long history of developing nuclear weapons.

You can imagine the drumming of fingers in anterooms as officials wait to be told if there will be peace in our time, or whether it's all fallen apart and we're heading for the airport.

The North Korean leader extended the invite in a letter that was hand-delivered to Trump in the White House earlier this month by emissary Kim Yong Chol.

The summit has been portrayed as a "get to know you" meeting.

Later, they would be joined by their respective negotiating teams for discussions that could last another hour.

Certainly security will soon ramp up but for now the only real hint of what is about to happen are the signs at the front of the summit venue - the uber-luxurious Capella Hotel on Sentosa island - saying "police check, comply with police orders". Progress could lead to a peace treaty and formally end a state of war on the Korean Peninsula, which has persisted for almost 70 years.

Another question is whether Trump will take up the issue of human rights - with North Korea accused of a host of state-sanctioned rights abuse including extrajudicial killing, torture and kidnapping.

Kim may also be seeing the gamble in a light never considered by his autocratic father and grandfather because of "his determination to modernize North Korea", according to Ryan Haas, an Asia expert at the John L. Thornton China Center.

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