US President Donald Trump today announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore for a historic meeting to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
US President Donald Trump today announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore for a historic meeting to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. Trump’s announcement came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned home from North Korea with three detained Americans. Trump, who personally greeted the trio at the Andrews Air Force Base, praised Kim for their release ahead of their summit. “The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!,” Trump tweeted.
Trump has struck a cautiously optimistic tone in discussing the prospects of reaching a deal during his upcoming summit with Kim, saying he is hopeful a historic agreement can be brokered while also warning the talks could prove unfruitful. But the President saw the release of the three Americans as yet another reason for optimism as he prepares for the summit.
“We are starting off on a new footing — I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful. A lot of very good things have happened,” Trump said as he greeted the three former prisoners. The Americans — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim — were freed yesterday by North Korea while Pompeo was on a visit to Pyongyang to finalise the details of the Trump-Kim summit. The trio had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in North Korean labour camps.
“I really think he wants to do something and bring the country into the real world,” he added of Kim. “It’s never been taken this far, there has never been a relationship like this. I really think a lot of progress has been made.” The summit, which has been in the works since Trump accepted Kim’s invitation to meet in March, will be the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader.
US officials had also considered holding the summit at the Korean demilitarized zone or in Mongolia, but ultimately settled on the city-state of Singapore as the location. Pyongyang’s weapons programme has seen tensions on the Korean Peninsula reach ratchet up in recent months, prompting fresh rounds of sanctions and fiery rhetoric from Trump and Kim. Singapore has been used before for high-profile diplomatic occasions.
In 2015, the leaders of China and Taiwan held historic talks in the South East Asian city-state – their first in more than 60 years, the BBC reported. The US and Singapore have a close relationship. Singapore has diplomatic ties with North Korea but suspended all trade with Pyongyang in November last year as US-led international sanctions were tightened following a series of provocative actions by the reclusive state.