The US will maintain sanctions until North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons capability but is prepared to offer "unique" guarantees to ease the regime's security concerns, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said ahead of a historic summit between the two adversaries.
Even as he drew a tough line on lifting sanctions, Pompeo sought to ease North Korea's wariness about giving up a nuclear arsenal that provides a deterrent against foreign adversaries while also serving as a key point of national pride.
"If diplomacy does not move in the right direction.those measures will increase", he said. President Trump showed in practical actions his strong determination to resolve the issues of North Korean nuclear weapons and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
"The fact that we have been chosen as the site of the meeting - we did not ask for it, but we were asked and we agreed - says something about Singapore's relations with the parties, with America, with North Korea, also our standing in the worldwide community". Previous reports had suggested Trump would leave on Wednesday.
Pompeo said "any suggestion that the United States somehow lacks the technical expertise across government, or lacks it on the ground here in Singapore, is mistaken".
Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday after a blow-up over trade with other members of the Group of Seven major industrialised nations in Canada. Economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CBS News in Washington that "Kim must not see American weakness".
"Tomorrow we will get our clearest indication to date of whether Chairman Kim Jong Un truly shares this vision", Pompeo said.
In order to call the summit a success, analysts said Trump and Kim should at least reach an agreement about what can be "front-loaded" in the early phase of a denuclearization process that might go on for some.
Traffic was held up in the steamy midday sun and scores of bystanders were penned in by police when Mr Trump went to meet Mr Lee.
The hotel was picked in part due to its experience in hosting high-security events.
In April, weird footage emerged of 12 smartly dressed bodyguards running alongside Kim's limousine as he left a meeting with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.
The North's official KCNA news agency called the summit "historic", saying it would take place in a "changed era" and "under the great attention and expectation of the whole world".
President Donald Trump has arrived in Singapore where he will meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
From the truce village of Panmunjeom and Singapore, top nuclear envoys from North Korea and the U.S. have engaged in a series of discussions aimed at resolving their nuclear standoff and decades-old animosity.
Trump spoke as numerous foreign policy analysts pointed out that Trump-Kim agreement cites only intentions to denuclearize, with no specifics about how to get that done.
Trump is expected to travel to Asia in November in conjunction with a pair of regional summits. "The process could be doomed before it begins".
"If President Moon said he would come here to declare an end to war before the North-U.S. summit is held, it would, from the U.S. perspective, be like showing an entire answer sheet", the official said. But official says meeting is meant to be "start of a relationship" and there will more to come between both sides if things go well. They then moved into a roughly 40-minute one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters, before including their advisers. He described it as a "get to know you plus" meeting.
He initially touted the potential for a grand bargain with North Korea to rid itself of a nuclear missile programme that has advanced rapidly to threaten the United States.