With Khukris, Rifles, Singapore's Gurkhas To Guard Trump-Kim Summit

ImageCreditTom Brenner  The New York Times

ImageCreditTom Brenner The New York Times

The military moves also may be viewed as another step by Kim to underscore his willingness to make bold internal changes ahead of the scheduled June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

It was unclear when the changes were carried out, but plans to replace Kim Jong Gak were reported in the North Korean media last month, Yonhap said.

Special red and blue shots offered at Escobar bar to mark the summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, are displayed on a table in Singapore June 4, 2018.

But Washington has made it clear that sanctions would not be lifted against North Korea unless it gave up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea's government, which is no stranger to hosting lavish events like military parades and party congresses of its own, has ample funds to cover important meetings for Kim.

In his State of the Union Address at the end of January, Trump focused on human rights violations in North Korea.

Lower-level US-North Korean talks to prepare for the summit are continuing but have made only "halting progress", according to a second US official briefed on the discussions. It quoted Assad as saying: 'I am going to visit and meet Kim Jong-un'.

Trump has credited his "maximum pressure" policy with bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.

North Korea's top three military officials have been removed from their posts, a move analysts say could support efforts by Kim Jong-un to jump-start economic development and engage with the world.

"We have chose to use diet Coke as it is Trump's favorite beverage", manager Carlo Ibanez told Reuters, adding that a sticker of Trump and Kim puckering up would accompany the drink.

"And I can also tell you the schedule tentatively for that first meeting will be on June 12 at 9 a.m. Singapore time (June 11 at 9 p.m. EDT)".

She added that Trump is getting daily briefings on North Korea in the runup to the landmark meeting.

But last Thursday, Mr Trump sensationally cancelled the historic meeting, citing North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility" and apparently dashing any hope of a truce between the US and South Korea. The US already has about 30,000 forces in South Korea along its border of North Korea.

Top Democrats on Monday staked out their ground for a nuclear deal with North Korea, vowing to push back on any sanctions relief if an agreement does not meet the five pillars they laid out.

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