North Korea sees its nuclear weapons as an invaluable insurance policy against the U.S. invading and attempting to topple the Kim dynasty.
The most hotly anticipated geopolitical summit in years will put President Donald Trump across the negotiating table from dictator Kim Jong Un.
It will be the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with the leader of North Korea, which is perhaps the world's most reclusive and repressive nation. Mutual mistrust between Washington and Pyongyang has already seen the meeting canceled and hastily reinstated days later.
But symbolism aside, what, if anything, might be agreed when both men emerge from their face-to-face meeting in Singapore on Tuesday?
Andrea Berger, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, said there is "a fairly wide spectrum of potential outcomes from the summit."
These range "from a breakdown of the meeting or a limited joint statement, to some implausibly ambitious plan for North Korean disarmament and transformation of the Korean Peninsula security situation," she added.
In a perfect world for Trump and his team, Kim would agree to the "complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" of North Korea's nuclear program.
This goal — often referred to by the acronym CVID — has been Washington's stated aim for much of the run-up to the talks.
But most experts say it's highly unlikely that this will happen quickly, if ever.
"It is simple, but improbable," says Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul and the director of the NK News website.
In this far-fetched scenario, Lankov says, "Kim Jong Un accepts CVID and then immediately starts to ship all his nuclear weapons, as well as crucial equipment, to the U.S. or third countries."
The problem is that North Korea sees its nuclear weapons as an invaluable insurance policy against the U.S. invading and attempting to topple the Kim dynasty.
Convincing Kim to to trust the West and give up his nuclear weapons entirely would be difficult. He has seen Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Moammar Gadhafi in Libya both abandon their WMD progams only to be toppled anyway.
The specter of Libya almost derailed the Singapore summit after its history was used as an example by National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Critics say that another unhelpful precedent was set when Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal last month.