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Who’s at the table? What’s at stake, and what comes next. Today, let’s start with a tight focus on the Trump-Kim summit meeting in Singapore.
• All expectations are that at 9 a.m. local time in Singapore, President Trump and Kim Jong-un will sit down together at the luxurious Capella Hotel. (Above, Mr. Trump and his team lunched Monday with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.)
Can the meeting end seven decades of hostility and the threat of a nuclear confrontation? Or will the gaps be unbridgeable? Our team of reporters is following every angle in real time. Check our live briefing for the latest.
This will be one of the most closely watched events in memory. Singapore’s Ministry of Communications said 500 foreign journalists had registered — but a top U.S. official said closer to 5,000 were in Singapore.
Mr. Trump has been telegraphing confidence, but he has never faced an adversary like Mr. Kim (who took a look around Singapore Monday night). American and North Korean diplomats went to the wire to set the stage for their meeting. Here’s a breakdown of the key players and the key issues.
A caveat: The vast scope of North Korea’s nuclear program means that ending it would be the most challenging disarmament in history.
• While the world is focused on Singapore: Yemen faces further disaster.
Diplomats involved in behind-the-scenes negotiations say the United Arab Emirates has warned of an imminent attack on a besieged port city, Al Hudaydah, that is the gateway for much of the foreign humanitarian aid entering the war-ravaged country.
The International Committee for the Red Cross evacuated its staff there over the weekend, and the U.N. is doing the same now.
Yemen’s torturous civil war has already created what is considered the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Diplomats say that the U.A.E. and Saudi forces seeking to oust Iran-backed Houthi rebels may strike now, while the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting takes up media bandwidth.
• Fury at China has erupted across Vietnam.
Weekend protests — set off by fears that Chinese investors would swoop in to dominate three special economic zones being established by the government — turned violent. More than 100 people were arrested after a provincial government building east of Ho Chi Minh City was stormed.
The backdrop: Vietnamese, always wary of their giant northern neighbor, have been incensed by China’s claim to much of the South China Sea. At the same time, anti-China protests have sometimes furnished an outlet for domestic grievances, including the government’s seizure of farmland to build malls and factories.
Official adoption of the economic zones, planned for this week, has now reportedly been delayed.
• A solar highway: Western countries have been looking into putting solar panels on roads for years. The Chinese have done it, installing panels on a downhill section of a mountain road.
• HSBC plans to invest as much as $ 17 billion in its Asian operations, particularly in China and Hong Kong, to get back into “growth mode.”
• The $ 100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund led a $ 250 million funding round for Cohesity, a California-based data storage company looking to expand in Japan, South Korea and India.
• Nirav Modi, the billionaire Indian diamond merchant, was reported to be seeking political asylum in Britain. He dropped out of sight in February after Punjab National Bank accused him of helping defraud it of $ 2 billion.
In the News
• A Hong Kong activist, Edward Leung, was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in a 2016 clash between protesters and the police over fears that unlicensed street vendors selling traditional snacks during the Lunar New Year would be shut down. [The New York Times]
• In Afghanistan, suicide bombers struck a government building in Kabul, killing at least 17 people, in a wave of attacks on the eve of government and Taliban cease-fires to mark the end of Ramadan. [The New York Times]
• The police in India arrested 16 people after two men were beaten to death by a mob. Nine people have now been killed in a month of hysteria over child kidnappers spread by rumors on WhatsApp. [BBC]
• In Japan, a U.S. Air Force fighter jet crashed off Okinawa. The Air Force said the pilot ejected and is hospitalized in serious condition. [A.P.]
• Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will tour Australia this year on a trip that includes Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. [ABC]
• Advice to World Cup fans: Savor this one, because it may be the last with a format — groups of four teams — that has provided a fair and exciting opening phase. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Thirty billion gallons of lava. That’s roughly what has poured over Hawaii’s biggest island since the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3. Here’s what the lava looks like from space and up close.
• In memoriam. Deborah Cameron, 60, a leading Australian journalist who was a presenter for ABC Sydney and the first woman to be named Tokyo correspondent for Fairfax.
• Lasik’s risks: Common vision-improvement surgery has more serious side effects than expected. U.S. reports of enduring conditions include dry eyes, double vision and problems with glare.
• And the Tonys, Broadway’s annual awards ceremony, celebrated inclusivity, openness and equality. “The Band’s Visit,” a delicate musical about longing, loneliness and the Middle East, swept the night by winning 10 prizes. Get the full list of winners here.
Real friends visit you at home sometimes.
North Korean state media reported this month that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria could be the first head of state to visit Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.
The two pariah states have a long history, as do the Assad and Kim families.
During the Arab-Israeli War of 1973, North Korea sent pilots to back Syrian forces. The North helped build a museum about that war in Damascus that includes a portrait of the two countries’ leaders clasping hands: Kim Il-sung and Hafez al-Assad, grandfather and father to the current leaders.
A mural of Hafez al-Assad surrounded by adoring crowds is copied from one of Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang.
North Korea helped Syria build a nuclear reactor — a replica of its own — which Israel destroyed in 2007.
This year, the United Nations said North Korea had sent Syria materials that could be used to create chemical weapons. There is speculation that North Korean soldiers are backing government forces in Syria’s long civil war.
In 2015, the Syrian government opened a park in Damascus dedicated to Kim Il-sung, with an adjacent street named after him as well. This “show of friendship” was derided by rights activists. “Repression doesn’t grow flowers,” one wrote.
Jennifer Jett wrote today’s Back Story.
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