Dennis Rodman cries as he hails Trump-Kim summit: 'I'm so happy'

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On Tuesday, while all other worldwide networks went live with Kim and Trump's first handshake and opening remarks at their meeting, the official Korean Central Television remained blank, choosing not to break with its usual broadcast schedule that usually begins five hours later.

Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore before the first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit, on June 12, 2018.

Trump made the comments as he and Kim walked together along balcony as they headed to a larger meeting with aides. On the eve of the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with US and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea's willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country's warheads and nuclear fuel, much of which is likely kept in a vast complex of underground facilities.

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Mr Kim was sent off in a ceremony at the Pyongyang airport joined by a group of senior officials, such as Mr Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state, Mr Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the North's State Affairs Commission, and Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju.

The flamboyant former basketball star also saw fit to pay tribute to those he said had not turned their back on his diplomatic efforts with Kim. Previous reports had suggested Trump would leave on Wednesday.

Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have insisted the US military presence and longstanding alliance with the South is not on the table in talks with the North.

Reacting to the news of the two leaders meeting, basketball star and unlikely North Korea envoy Dennis Rodman, who is also in Singapore, said holding the summit was the right thing to do. The "madman" comment also came after a historic televised statement from Kim, in which the North Korean leader called Trump a "mentally deranged USA dotard".

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But the Canadian prime minister still said a few things that didn't go down well inside Air Force One. Meantime, Trump was already looking ahead to his meeting with Kim Jong Un with a feeling of optimism.

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"These discussions that will take place tomorrow between Chairman Kim and President Trump will set the framework for the hard work that will follow".

Previously, Trump had derided Kim as "Little Rocket Man" and pledged to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to make nuclear threats. Worldwide inspections and verification of such a deal would require more openness from the North, typically allergic to outside scrutiny.

"I, along with all our people, sincerely hope that it will be a successful summit that will open a new era of complete denuclearization, peace and a new relationship between South Korea, North Korea and the United States".

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"Whenever they're shaking hands, you can see the whites of their fingertips - these two guys are alpha males", Leong said. "And I believe in North Korea".

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