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President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Make History With a Handshake

SINGAPORE - A landmark handshake between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore has set the stage for a one-on-one initial meeting that Trump has billed as a litmus test of Kim's sincerity to abandon nuclear weapons.

Markets in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan stood on edge ahead of the meeting for any signs that a groundbreaking dialogue on ending nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula could end in failure, or continue moves to end a military stand-off that started on June 25, 1950.

The iShares MSCI South Korea ETF ended Monday up 0.45% to $73.80. The 52-week high is $79.07 and 52-week low at $65.76 with a dividend yield of 2.95%.

The Kospi - the Korea Composite Stock Price Index - up 0.76% on Monday to 2,470.15. The recent high this year was 2,598.19 hit on Jan. 29 and the low at 2,363.77 on Feb. 9 - related in part to the state of play with North Korea.

The thumbs-up, or thumbs-down, from Trump will likely come at a press conference in the afternoon in Singapore - but possibly initially after a planned expanded bilateral meeting, and a working lunch. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted": "We're ready for today" ahead of the meeting.

Ahead of the initial meeting, Trump tweeted that his economic advisor Larry Kudlow had suffered a heart attack and is at the Walter Reed National Military Medical center.

The wider meeting will include Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Advisor John Bolton. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Ambassador Sung Kim, and National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger will join for the working lunch along with senior North Korean officials.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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