North Korean and USA negotiators met in Singapore today for final preparations on the eve of an unprecedented summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, seeking to bridge the gaps over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.
A US official says Monday that the leaders will meet for up to two hours before an expanded bilateral meeting with their respective advisers.
In a tweet on Monday, he said: "Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!"
The two men will be joined later by their closest aides, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the official said.
Mr 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 U.S. president and a North Korean leader. The nation also has repaired ties with China after a setback in late 2016, a shift reinforced by Lee's visit to Beijing in April.
North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun proclaimed Kim's arrival in Singapore on its front page, in unusually swift coverage of his worldwide visit. He also told Lee the decision to hold the summit in the island city-state of Singapore was "made very consciously" and offered his gratitude.
"Wide-ranging and profound views on the issue of establishing new DPRK-U.S. relations, the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, the issue of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern, as required by the changed era, will be exchanged at the DPRK-U.S. summit talks", a dispatch by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. "It's never going to be there again", Trump said on Saturday. North Korea and the United States will hold last minute working-level talks in Singapore on Monday, . a day before the historic summit between their two leaders.
The tests came amid a campaign of "maximum pressure", led by the United States, that tightened economic sanctions against North Korea and raised the possibility of military action.
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Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has said North Korea's leader "begged" for their summit to be rescheduled after the U.S. president cancelled it.
The two media workers, dressed in identical black suits, with lapel badges of former North Korean leaders and flanked by Singapore police, were busy getting into the best position for Kim's arrival, setting up cameras in the middle of the cordoned-off road.
He was greeted by Singapore's foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, who posted a picture on Twitter of him shaking hands with Kim and the message: "Welcomed Chairman Kim Jong Un, who has just arrived in Singapore".
Lee met Kim on Sunday, hours after Kim arrived at Changi Airport on a Chinese plane, making his furthest overseas journey since becoming North Korean leader.
Trump, who is staying in a separate hotel, the Shangri-La, is due to meet Lee on Monday.
This will be the first summit of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting US president.
Many experts on North Korea, one of the most insular and unpredictable countries in the world, remain sceptical Kim will ever completely abandon its cherished nuclear weapons.
Before the negotiators' meeting on Monday, Pompeo had tweeted a photograph of himself and ambassador Kim, to show the U.S. position was unchanged: "We remain committed to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".
The previous USA stance, said Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation, was that "we don't deploy a president to negotiate a treaty, we deploy a president to sign a treaty where we know where every piece of punctuation is on that piece of paper".