Trump held Singapore summit with Kim for publicity, says Bolton

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON: The summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore that US President Donald Trump had in 2018 was for publicity, said former national security adviser John Bolton in his upcoming memoir.

The memoir was scheduled to be released yesterday in defiance of legal challenges by the Trump administration, but excerpts have already been published by the media.

The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018, was the first time a sitting US president and North Korean leader had met.

It was hailed as a historic step forward for relations between the two countries and raised hopes for North Korean denuclearisation, though critics at the time criticised the joint statement for being too vague and lacking a concrete timeline and process.

Mr Trump wanted to go to Singapore, saying "it will be great theatre", according to Mr Bolton. When they met at the Capella Hotel in Sentosa, Mr Kim flattered Mr Trump, saying that his predecessors would not have shown the leadership to hold the summit. In response, said Mr Bolton, "Trump preened".

Mr Kim also asked Mr Trump how he assessed him. The President replied that he saw him as "really smart, quite secretive, a very good person, totally sincere, with a great personality", said Mr Bolton.

Mr Trump has slammed Mr Bolton and called his tell-all full of lies and fake stories.

In another response to the book, Japan's defence minister said the US has not asked Tokyo to pay more to keep its troops in the country.

A report cited Mr Bolton as saying he conveyed Mr Trump's demand for a US$8 billion (S$11 billion) annual payment which is quadruple the current amount.

"Negotiations over the cost of hosting (American troops) have not started yet," Defence Minister Taro Kono said yesterday. "The Japanese government has not received any request from the United States with regard to this issue."

The current agreement that covers the 54,000 US troops stationed in Japan expires in March 2021.

Asked whether he thought the current cost of hosting the US military was appropriate, Mr Kono said: "The Japan-US alliance is a public asset that contributes to this region's peace and stability. An arrangement that is lucrative for one side won't last long." - THE STRAITS TIMES, REUTERS