Trump descended from Air Force One into the steamy Singapore night, greeting officials and declaring he felt “very good” before being whisked away to his hotel via a route lined with police and photo-snapping onlookers. Trump traveled to Singapore from Canada, where he a meeting with other world leaders.
Hours earlier, a jet carrying Kim landed. After shaking hands with Singapore’s foreign minister, Kim sped through the streets in a limousine, two large North Korean flags fluttering on the hood, surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted windows and bound for the luxurious and closely guarded St. Regis Hotel.
Trump and Kim are due to meet face to face at 9 a.m. Tuesday for the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Trump intends to briefly meet Kim one-on-one at the beginning of the meeting, according to a U.S. official familiar with their plans.
Reuters reported that Kim was scheduled to depart Singapore at 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday, citing a source involved in the planning of his visit. Trump planned to leave the city-state on Wednesday morning local time, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source.
Trump is gambling that the direct exchange can overcome decades of distrust between the two Korean War sides and convince Kim to give up his nuclear arsenal. Merely securing a meeting with an American president a long-time North Korean demand helps give him new status as a world leader.
Trump said Saturday that he thought he would know “within the first minute” if Kim was serious about giving up his nuclear arsenal and whether “something positive will happen.” The plan is to wrap up the meeting in the evening and, if things go well, for the leaders to agree to a joint declaration, according to another U.S. official.
After making no foreign trips for more than six years, the North Korean leader has visited China twice and met South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on the southern side of their militarized border. Kim’s trip aboard a Chinese-owned passenger plane was indication of the role Beijing plays in guaranteeing Kim’s security.
The North Korean leader’s delegation used three planes in all, the Straits Times and other local media reported, with one carrying his personal Mercedes, food and other supplies for the multi-day excursion.
It said “broad and in-depth opinions” would be exchanged to “establish a permanent and peaceful regime in the Korean peninsula and to solve problems that are of common concern, including issues to realize the denuclearize of the Korean peninsula”.
“Even if a country had a hostile relationship with us in the past, our attitude is that if this nation respects our autonomy… we shall seek normalization through dialogue,” it reads.