President Trump predicted early Tuesday that he and Kim Jong Un would have "a tremendous relationship" as the commander in chief and North Korean dictator shook hands and began their historic summit in Singapore.
"President Moon and President Trump agreed Trump and Kim will be able to make a great achievement if the two leaders come together to find a common denominator through frank discussions", Blue House spokesman Kim Eu-kyeom told reporters.
Addressing reporters on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to keep expectations in check, saying: "We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks".
Kim and his regime have made no secret that nuclear weapons are the key to North Korea's survival yet Mr Trump has made equally clear that he will not tolerate the development of a deadly arsenal that could strike the United States mainland. Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea's reluctance to open its doors to outsiders.
Moon, the son of North Korean war refugees, took office previous year promising to seek engagement with the North only to be stymied by rising tensions amid a steady drumbeat of North Korean missile tests and saber rattling by Pyongyang and Washington.
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.
Trump and Kim may well end up branding tomorrow's summit a success.
Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have insisted the USA military presence and longstanding alliance with the South is not on the table in talks with the North.
Kim and Trump entered the dialogue venue separately at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa. They will be joined only by translators and will spend a couple of hours before admitting their close advisers to the meeting.
Trump said Tuesday at the beginning of expanded discussions with aides from both countries that "We will solve a big problem" and "a big dilemma".
The U.S. president will then address the media before flying out late Tuesday Singapore time.
North Korea's atrocious human rights record didn't stop Kim receiving a rock star reception in Singapore.
Trump made the unprecedented decision to meet with the leader of the rogue regime, a move all of his predecessors had avoided. Global inspections and verification of such a deal would require more openness from the North, typically allergic to outside scrutiny.
Media access at high-level meetings between leaders is usually negotiated far in advance.
"Bad idea", tweeted Paul Haenle, a former China director at the White House National Security Council in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. "And I believe in North Korea".
Key Donald Trump advisers attack ‘back stabber’ Justin Trudeau
On Fox News Sunday , White House Director of Trade Policy Peter Navarro also defended the president with adversarial language. He told CNN's Jake Tapper that "of course" Trump's tweets about Trudeau actually had to do with North Korea "in large part".