President Donald Trump said ‘excitement is in the air’ in Singapore ahead of his meeting with Kim Jong Un. North Korean state media heralded the summit as ‘a changed era’ for Washington and Pyongyang.
Preparations for the unprecedented meeting between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and the President of the United States Donald Trump in Singapore began in earnest on Monday.
The event marks the first time a sitting US president meets a North Korean leader. It is also the first time Kim Jong Un makes a journey of this kind since taking office in 2011, aside from short visits to China and the South Korean side of the border Demilitarized Zone.
What we know so far:
- The venue for the summit is the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, near the port of Singapore.
- Kim Jong-Un’s delegation includes top officials such as Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Defense Minister No Kwang Chol and close aide Kim Yong Chol.
- Donald Trump’s delegation includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
- As a first order of business, officials from the US and North Korean delegation held a meeting early on Monday, lead by former US ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Phillipines, Sung Kim.
- President Donald Trump will meet with the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong later on Monday.
- Kim and Trump are set to meet in person on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Singapore time (0100 UTC).
- According to a US official, who spoke anonymously to the AP news agency, Trump and Kim will meet one on one with translators in a session that could last up to two hours and will then bring in their respective advisors to the meeting.
The Trump administration is hoping that the summit will lead to an agreement on North Korea’s denuclearization in exchange for eased diplomatic and economic sanctions on Pyongyang.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the administration would “not be surprised” by any scenario that the meeting could yield, saying that given North Korea’s long history of developing nuclear weapons, Trump’s team would approach Pyongyang with a mix of optimism and skepticism.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that President Trump spent his flight from Canada to Singapore “meeting with his staff, reading materials and preparing for his meetings.” Trump tweeted that “excitement” was in the air after he touched down in the small Asian nation
A ‘changed era’
The North Koreans noted that the summit was being held “under the great attention and expectation of the whole world,” according to the official report of the event by state broadcaster KCNA.
The state-run agency said that both leaders would exchange “wide-ranging and profound views” on establishing a new relationship, the issue of building a “permanent and durable peace mechanism” and realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
KCNA celebrated the momentous occasion, saying that the summit marked “a changed era.”