US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to land in Singapore on Sunday within hours of each other in advance of a historic summit over the reclusive country's arsenal of nuclear weapons. The law imposes a financial ban and asset freezes on the government and its component parts, and the Workers Party of Korea, of which Kim is the chairman.
Although the Trump administration has said that America's 28,500 troops in South Korea aren't bargaining chips in Singapore, there are persistent concerns - fueled by Trump's own comments - that he may waver.
The summit has fuelled hopes in South Korea that the two leaders may weigh a formal declaration to end the Korean War. Trump also wants to emerge from the negotiations looking like the master deal maker he claims to be, solving a tough problem his predecessors could not. Seeing Nobel Peace Prize laurels and eyeing potential to show up his critics at home and overseas, Trump is granting Kim the global legitimacy he's long sought in hopes of securing a legacy-defining accord.
Some 100 fans flocked to a shopping mall Saturday for $10 selfies with Trump and Kim lookalikes. And he may have achieved this under false pretences.
Sources told CNN that United States officials have established a contingency plan for a potential second day of discussions between Trump and Kim depending on the direction of their planned meeting on June 12. He escaped North Korea at 19 years old.
According to the USA president, who earlier this week said that he "didn't have to prepare very much" for the meeting other than ready himself to "get things done", much will hinge on Kim's character and openness to genuine negotiation.
He refuted suggestions he had already given Kim a win by agreeing to even have the meeting.
Later, the USA president expanded on this thought.
"This has not been done before at this level", Trump said Saturday.
Since then, however, Pyongyang has appeared less willing to denuclearise than the South Korean intermediaries indicated.
How long will it take to figure out whether or not they're serious.
A half-mile away at the Shangri-La Hotel, where the US side will stay, Secret Service agents, in a casual uniform of khakis slacks and dark polo shirts, milled about the lobby.
Trump's comments, made shortly before his departure for Singapore, underline his recent efforts to curb expectations for the summit, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
Speaking to Singapore media at the International Media Centre ahead of the planned Trump-Kim summit on Tuesday, Mr Lee said: "In terms of direct impact, (hosting the summit) gives us publicity. I think the USA was played by North Korea, and to some extent by South Korea", Kristof said when we met at the New York Times office this week. "We're going in with a very positive spirit".
In sum, it is far from clear that Pyongyang has really committed to anything like the American conception of denuclearisation. In a New Year's address, Kim said his country had completed development of its nuclear programme and would focus on economic development, suggesting a meeting with South Korea. Beijing is considering deploying fighter jets to escort Kim Jong Un's aircraft when it is in Chinese airspace, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said, citing an unnamed source in Beijing.