Trump confirms he will meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore next month

US president promises ‘special moment for world peace’ when leaders meet on June 12th

US president Donald Trump welcomed three former US prisoners who landed at a military base near Washington on Thursday after being released by North Korea, thanking leader Kim Jong-un and sounding upbeat on a planned summit between the two.

 

US president Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12th in Singapore.

“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!” Mr Trump said on Twitter.

Singapore had emerged as the likely venue for the summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim , after the US president ruled out the Panmunjom peace village at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) in South Korea.

North Korea has cleared a major obstacle to the meeting and set a positive tone with the release of three American prisoners, who arrived back in the US on Thursday morning.

The venue and timing of the summit has been the subject of much speculation. Mr Trump had mentioned the DMZ and also the island state of Singapore in previous days. It is expected to take place later this month or in early June.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Mr Trump was asked when the summit would be announced and he replied: “We’re going to announce that in three days... within three days... we’re just working arrangements,” he said. Asked if it would be the DMZ, he replied: “It will not be there, no.”

Panmunjom hosted the historic summit last month between Mr Kim and the South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

Singapore has the advantage of having a number of venues that can be used to host a major summit, with the required security facilities, as well as capacity to host hundreds of visiting media.

It also has security links to the US, and has a North Korean embassy. Singapore also keeps a tight grip on media, which will appeal to both leaders.

In 2015, China’s president Xi Jinping chose Singapore for his historic meeting with then-Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou.

One of the possible venues is the Marina Bay Sands, a large hotel, casino and convention centre that is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp. Its owner, Sheldon Adelson, is a supporter of Mr Trump.

After the two Koreas agreed last month to work towards denuclearisation of the peninsula and negotiate an end to the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with an armistice but not an official peace treaty, the North Koreans agreed to suspend missile tests and close an atomic weapons test site.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has visited Pyongyang twice and North Korean state media gave extensive coverage of his discussions there, showing him shaking hands with Mr Kim. Coverage included a front page report in the official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.

Mr Pompeo is due to meet South Korea’s foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha on Friday to prepare for the summit. – Additional reporting, Reuters