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Kim, Trump expected to arrive in Singapore on Sunday

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US President Donald Trump will leave early from the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Quebec, where he is expected to face a backlash over his trade policies, and head straight to Singapore to prepare for his first-ever meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Washington

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump will leave early from the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Quebec, where he is expected to face a backlash over his trade policies, and head straight to Singapore to prepare for his first-ever meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

G-7 leaders are meeting on Friday and Saturday in the Canadian province in what's shaping up to be the most divisive gathering of leaders from major industrialised nations in years.

The US' closest allies are frustrated by Mr Trump's imposition of steel and aluminium tariffs last week, as well as his decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear accord and the Paris climate agreement.

Mr Trump will leave the gathering on Saturday at 10.30am (10.30pm, Singapore time) and put Everett Eissenstat, his deputy assistant for international economic affairs, in charge for the remaining sessions, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday. Mr Trump is expected to arrive at Paya Lebar Airport on Sunday evening after a 17-hour flight from Canada.

Mr Kim is also likely to arrive here on Sunday and will land at Changi Airport, according to a Reuters report that quoted a source involved in the planning of the North Korean leader's trip.

The early departure from Quebec will give Mr Trump about 24 hours to meet with allies and try to defuse the escalating trade dispute.

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned he won't sign the traditional concluding joint statement unless there's progress on tariffs and other contentious issues. The European Union has said that it's maintaining low expectations for the outcome.

The agenda after Mr Trump's departure on Saturday includes sessions on climate change and clean energy and oceans; meetings with leaders from countries outside the G-7, and the closing press conference by the summit's host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The tensions have been particularly evident between Mr Trudeau and Mr Trump. Mr Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the steel tariffs, describing the move as lacking common sense, in sharp contrast from the conciliatory tone he had taken since Mr Trump's election.

Mr Trump on Thursday accused Mr Trudeau of "being so indignant" given that Canada protects its dairy sector with high tariffs. When asked for a response to Mr Trump's remarks, a senior Canadian official said that the nations can manage their differences through discussions.

Mr Trudeau was scheduled to meet Mr Trump at 5pm on Friday (5am Saturday, Singapore time), the official said at a press briefing in Quebec.

Mr Trump is set to hold the first meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader on June 12. The meeting will begin at 9am at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa. BLOOMBERG

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