Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Trump to meet Kim at US-North Korea summit on June 12 in Singapore

Washington DC, May 10 (EFE).– The President of the United States said Thursday that the US-North Korean leader summit will take place on June 12 in Singapore, a Southeast Asian country that maintains good relations with both countries.
After several weeks of speculations, Donald Trump finally announced the date and venue for the first-ever meeting between the US president and the North Korean leader.

“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 said on his personal Twitter account.

A day earlier, Trump ruled out his previous suggestion that the meeting be held in the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, where the Apr. 27 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in took place.

The White House chose Singapore, a small and prosperous island state with 5.6 million people in Southeast Asia, as the summit venue due to “security” protocols and Singapore’s experience in organizing summits, an US official explained to Efe.
Singapore was selected also because it maintains diplomatic relations with both Washington and Pyongyang and is therefore considered neutral grounds.

The meeting is expected to last only one day, and can still be called off if Kim does anything unacceptable to the United States, Victoria Coates, the director of international negotiations at the White House National Security Council, warned.

However, Coates told journalists that at the moment the US has not indicated that it would impose any preconditions.
The announcement leaves a month to prepare for the historic summit, and the big question is whether the climate of detente that reached its peak this week, with the release of the three Americans during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea, can be sustained.

Scott Snyder, analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), told Efe that Kim has already made several surprising concessions before the summit and there could be more, but it did not include a unilateral abandonment of all the weapons material possessed by North Korea, which is what the United States wants.

Mintaro Oba, a former US State Department official specializing in the two Koreas, predicted that the release of the three Americans will be the last great move of North Korea before the summit with Trump, because it is the biggest concession that Kim could do without committing himself to the issue of denuclearization.

This fulfills Kim’s goal of making it look like North Korea is generating progress, which puts pressure on the United States to respond to Pyongyang with positive measures, Oba said.

Trump assured that he will not make concessions for Kim, but he has also indulged in praise and gratitude for the North Korean leader for the release of the three Americans, something that has generated suspicion among the Democrat opposition.

“We can’t be fooled into giving the North Korean regime credit for turning (over) Americans that never should have been detained in the first place,” Senator Chuck Schumer from the Democratic Party said.

Welcoming the three Americans early Thursday morning at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, Trump said Kim had been “excellent” and “nice in letting them go before the meeting.”

“We are starting off on a new footing,” Trump added.