'Don't expect too much': Rodman plays down Kim Trump breakthrough

Retired American professional basketball player Dennis Rodman speaks to the press as he arrives at Changi International airport ahead of US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 11, 2018.
PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman flew into Singapore late Monday ahead of at summit betwen President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un, playing down expectations of an immediate breakthrough at the historic meeting.

Rodman, who has struck up an unlikely friendship with the basketball loving North Korean leader, arrived in the city-state some nine hours before Trump meets with Kim in a bid to negotiate an end to a decades-old nuclear stand-off.

He said he expected the Trump-Kim summit to "go fairly well" but added "people should not expect too much for the first time".

"I'm just happy to be a part of it," he told reporters at Changi Airport.

Retired American professional basketball player Dennis Rodmanspeaks to the press as he arrives at Changi International airport ahead of US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 11, 2018.Photo: AFP

"I think that I brought awareness to a lot of things around the world and I think North Korea has given a lot of people the opportunity to do this conference now and I hope it's a success.

"Who knew this would have happened five to six years ago... It's exciting to be a part of it."

Rodman, sporting a black t-shirt advertising a cryptocurrency he is involved with, said he was unsure whether he would get to meet with Kim - a man he has previously described as a "friend for life".

"Every time I see him it's always a surprise. So maybe tomorrow it's the same thing. Maybe it's a surprise I'll see him tomorrow before he leaves," he said.

Rodman has made five trips to Pyongyang since Kim took power.

Trump lands in Singapore for meeting with North Korea's Kim

  • Donald Trump arrived in Singapore Sunday for an unprecedented summit, several hours after Kim Jong Un touched down.
  • Trump landed in the evening after a long flight from Canada and the G7 meeting there, telling Singaporean officials who welcomed him that he was feeling “very good” about the summit.
  • Trump insisted last week that the summit would “not be just a photo op”, saying it would help forge a “good relationship” that would lead to a “process” towards the “ultimate making of a deal”.
  • But as he embarked for Singapore he changed his tune, calling it a “one-time shot” and adding he will know “within the first minute” whether an agreement will be possible.
  • “If I think it won’t happen, I’m not going to waste my time,” he said.
  • He has also dangled the prospect of Kim Jong Un visiting Washington if the meeting goes well.
  • Trump flew into Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base aboard Air Force One, looking to strike a deal that will lead to the denuclearisation of one of America’s bitterest foes.
  • After stepping down from Air Force One on a steamy tropical night, Trump was greeted by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
  • Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Trump said: “Very good”. He then got into his limousine for the drive to his hotel in central Singapore.
  • When Trump and Kim meet on Tuesday at Sentosa, a resort island off Singapore’s port with a Universal Studios theme park and man-made beaches, they will be making history.
  • The US president arrived in Singapore ahead of schedule after he left the G7 meeting in Canada early.
  • En route to Singapore, Mr Trump had tweeted that the meeting here was a chance to achieve a"truly wonderful result for North Korea and the world”.
  • Mr Trump waving to bystanders from his limousine.
  • It is not immediately clear the size of Mr Trump’s travelling party although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser are expected to be involved in the summit. First Lady Melania Trump did not travel with Mr Trump.
  • Ahead of his arrival, a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane had been spotted at the base.
  • The massive transport plane has been known to carry the US president’s custom limousine nicknamed “The Beast”.