Will the world encounter nuclear war or will peace win the day? That question will be decided beginning tonight (Monday) at about 9:00 PM eastern US time when, halfway around the world, United States President Donald Trump begins meeting with North Korean Chairman Kim Jung Un. The meeting has been described as "a high-wire act with no safety net." That description is accurate.
President Trump hasfor what will be a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The official meeting kicks off Tuesday morning, June 12. Singapore is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so the summit starts around 9 p.m. ET Monday.
It's unclear when it will wrap up and when we'll learn what the two sides agreed to, if anything.
Here's what you need to know:
What counts as "denuclearization" is an open question. Some experts have said it could take as long as 15 years for North Korea to completely wind down its nuclear and missile program, which is estimated to include enough material for 25 to 30 nuclear weapons. The White House would likely want a faster timeline.
Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations' subcommittee dealing with North Korea policy,Sunday that there's a "vast gulf" between the U.S. and North Korea's definition of what "denuclearization" actually means.
Mr. Trump even said he'd consider inviting Kim to the U.S. But Mr. Trump notes that the U.S. has already secured the of three American prisoners and argues the U.S. hasn't given up anything -- and won't unless Kim agrees to "de-nuke."
How will he know if Kim is serious? "I think within the first minute, I'll know," the presidentSaturday. "I just, my touch, my feel, that's what, that's what I do."
Pompeo has met Kim twice in recent months. National security adviser John Bolton will be there too, but he caused a dust-up when he referenced the "Libya Model" on. North Korea saw that as a threat -- Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi was ultimately overthrown and killed after doing a deal with the U.S.
"I never said it goes in one meeting," Mr. Trumpon June 1. "I think it's going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that's a very positive thing."
"All I can say is I am totally prepared to walk away," he said on Thursday.
"President Trump is hopeful," Pompeolast week. "But he's also going into the summit with his eyes wide open."
Mr. Trump derided Kim as "" last year. A statement from North Korea last September referred to Mr. Trump as "mentally deranged" and a " ," which can mean senile.
The North Korean regime is, with an estimated 200,000 political prisoners serving time in hard labor camps across the country. The government controls all aspects of the economy, the media and the political process. So far, there has been little indication that Mr. Trump will raise these issues with Kim in Singapore.
Both countries want North Korea's nuclear capabilities addressed. But they hope the U.S. won't ignore North Korea's advanced chemical and biological weapons program, as well as more conventional artillery which remains a threat to the region.
Japan is also interested in the fate of the fate of remaining Japanese abductees kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. Japan hasthat the Kim regime return at least 12 Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents. Mr. Trump has repeatedly and publicly promised to raise the abduction issue, but there's concern about whether president will go far enough.