Planning Trump-Kim meeting: Who sits where, what will they eat and who pays?

TOKYO — It seems as if all they would really need is a room with a table and some chairs.

The reality, however, is that planning the coming summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea's nuclear future will require deciding countless, infinitesimal details, often via tricky diplomatic negotiations.

It does not help that any of those details could be thrown out at the last minute by either leader, both of whom have shown a tendency to depart from the script.

Even before Trump declared last Friday that the summit meeting was back on, delegations from the United States and North Korea had arrived in Singapore last week to work out the logistics of the June 12 conference.

The two sides will be negotiating everything from the site of the meeting to which leader sits where at the table, who is allowed in the room with them, the number of meals and breaks, what to use in a toast between the two leaders (given that Trump does not drink alcohol), what gifts could be exchanged and who will pay for what.

Without question, the top priority for both sides is security.

As the host country, Singapore will be in charge of ensuring security in public, but the United States and North Korea will oversee the safety of their own leaders.

It is unusual for two leaders to hold a one-on-one summit meeting in a third country unless they are on the sidelines of an international gathering. With Singapore as the venue, Trump may have an upper hand, veteran

diplomats said.

Kim is likely to feel more uncomfortable "the farther away you do it from the Korean Peninsula," said Evans J.R. Revere, a former State Department diplomat who specializes in East Asia. "That would work to Trump's advantage."

"It will all be choreographed through with the president and Mr. Kim," said Wendy R. Sherman, who accompanied Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang in 2000 to meet Kim's father, Kim Jong Il. Each side, she said, will "try to add some steps to get advantage."


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