And so the moment is upon us. Tomorrow, at 9am, if the unexpected does not intervene, the world would be witness to a historic handshake between the President of the United States and the leader of isolated North Korea, at the Capella hotel on Sentosa. Through the three generations of Kims that have ruled the North, never before has a serving American leader attempted such an audacious diplomatic gambit. Equally, it speaks for the courage and statesmanship of Mr Kim Jong Un that he should have made the outreach to Mr Donald Trump which made this meeting possible, less than a year after he tested an intercontinental missile as a warning to the US on its Independence Day.
The Singapore summit seeks to address a complex situation that comes with many layers, each with its own antecedents and complications, much of them enmeshed with each other. First is the tension between the US and North Korea, heightened by exchanges of dire threats backed by nuclear weapons. Hence Washington's insistence on the North's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. Then, there is the issue of the North's relations with its southern sibling, which has effectively been under American protection. Beyond the peninsula is another US treaty ally, Japan, from whose grasp Korea was prised at the end of World War II and divided into a Soviet-influenced North and US-backed South Korea. And finally there is China, the North's protector since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and a nation with its own concerns.