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Singapore airspace to be restricted during US-North Korea summit

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A view of Sentosa Island and the skyline of the central business district in Singapore.

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07th-Jun-2018       
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Reuters , Singapore :
Singapore:  Singapore airspace will be restricted during the planned U.S.-North Korea summit next week, according to a notice to airmen posted by aviation authorities on Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian city-state is set to host an historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 and has increased security across the island.
The notice, published on the websites of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said airspace over Singapore will be temporarily restricted for parts of June 11, 12 and 13.
All aircraft arriving into Singapore Changi Airport will be required to reduce speed and face some restrictions on runway use "for reasons of national security," the notice said.
A separate notice on the ICAO website warned aviators to keep clear of the Paya Lebar Air Base, a military facility in the island's east that has been used by U.S. presidents on past visits. The notice said aircraft that breach the restrictions "may be intercepted".
As part of its preparations for the summit, Singapore has designated certain parts of city as "special event areas" for June 10 to 14. These include the central region, which is home to its foreign ministry, the U.S. embassy and several hotels, and Sentosa Island in the south, where the summit is scheduled to take place.
Items such as remotely piloted aircraft and public address systems will be prohibited in these areas throughout this period. Changi Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore could not immediately confirm the details of the airspace restriction notice.
Donald Trump's North Korea Summit May Bring Peace Declaration - But At A Cost
After meeting a top North Korean envoy on Friday, Donald Trump appeared suddenly to back away from his demand for Pyongyang's swift, complete denuclearization.
Meanwhile,  If Donald Trump's summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un produces a peace declaration formally ending the Korean War as he has suggested, it could give the US president a big headline-grabbing, made-for-TV moment on the world stage.
But the public relations value of such a historic event could quickly fade if Trump fails, in return, to wring any significant concessions from Kim toward the dismantling of his nuclear arsenal, former US officials and analysts say.
After meeting a top North Korean envoy on Friday, Trump appeared suddenly to back away from his demand for Pyongyang's swift, complete denuclearization.
He suggested instead that the most tangible outcome of the unprecedented June 12 summit in Singapore could be the "signing of a document" to bring the technical state of hostilities to a close - 65 years after the Korean conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
While Trump might seize on that as a way to tout the summit as a foreign policy success, it would mean granting North Korea something it has sought for decades but which previous administrations have said would only be possible if Pyongyang first agreed to give up its nuclear weapons.
Any end-of-war declaration - even if short of an actual treaty - could erode US leverage in future negotiations if North Korea does not give ground on nuclear issues, experts warned. It also could give Pyongyang a stronger platform to press for a halt to joint US-South Korea military drills, as well as the removal of US forces from the South.
There are even some doubts within the administration on the wisdom of such a move, especially since it may do nothing to stop North Korea's development of nuclear missiles it says are capable of hitting the United States.
"A peace treaty would be a major accomplishment," said one US official involved in summit preparations. "But whether it would also be the start of eliminating the dangers North Korea poses to its neighbors with its weapons programs and to others with its exports of weapons and technology is far from certain."
Evans Revere, a former US negotiator with North Korea, said any kind of joint peace declaration at this stage - when Pyongyang has shown no real willingness to give up its nuclear program - would be premature.
"Among the many traps that the US president might fall into in Singapore, this would be a powerfully significant one," he said.
But Trump's aides say a peace agreement early on could lower tensions, clear the air for future nuclear talks and undercut North Korea's longtime contention it needs its nuclear program to deter a "hostile" United States. Washington keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 war.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump's effort might appear a worthy goal and in line with South Korean President Moon Jae-in's recent agreement with Kim to seek an end to the conflict between the Koreas. There has been media speculation that Moon might travel to Singapore for the summit, although South Korean officials stress they are considering a three-way meeting at a later date.
The idea of a peace deal may also appeal to Trump, a former reality-TV star, because it would allow him to claim an achievement no other president has had. At the same time, it might boost supporters' hopes he could win a Nobel Peace Prize.
"Can you believe that we're talking about the ending of the Korean War?" Trump mused to reporters on Friday, saying it would be a "historically" important moment.
But the reason previous administrations have not offered such an agreement - or even to hold a summit between the countries' leaders that North Korea has long sought - is that Pyongyang has resisted nuclear disarmament.
US officials have welcomed Kim's recent announcement of a suspension of long-range missile tests and the closing of his nuclear bomb test site but say these steps are reversible.
Trump has left unclear whether he seeks the possible signing of an actual peace treaty, which experts believe would require lengthier negotiations, or a political statement agreed upon by the two sides that could form the basis of a detailed accord.
Upgrading the armistice to a full-scale treaty also would likely require all signatories, which includes China, allied with North Korea during the war, in addition to Pyongyang and Washington, which headed the United Nations command.
China's Foreign Ministry said it supports efforts to reach a "peace mechanism." But the influential state-run Global Times newspaper said Beijing must be a signatory to any peace treaty "to ensure its legal and historical status."
Either way, it could have major implications and possibly unintended consequences for the United States.
"Kim would like nothing better than to drag the US into prolonged negotiations over America's military presence in the South," said Danny Russel, a former top Asia policy adviser in the Obama administration.
"But what the North Koreans are more likely to have in mind for Singapore is a quick win via a vague declaration that the two leaders commit to preserving peace and to reaching a permanent peace arrangement," he said.

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