Singapore | US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met and shook hands here today, kicking off their history-making summit aimed at normalising bilateral ties and complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Trump and Kim shook hands at a luxury hotel in Singapore’s Sentosa island after months of diplomatic twists and turns. The two men walked towards each other and firmly gripped each other’s hands in front of US and North Korean flags.
They are the first leaders of their respective countries to meet, the culmination of months of diplomatic wrangling and negotiations. The President expressed hope that the historic summit would be “tremendously successful.”
Sitting next to the North Korean leader, Trump said, “We will have a terrific relationship ahead.”
“I feel really great. It’s gonna be a great discussion and I think tremendous success. I think it’s gonna be really successful and I think we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt,” Trump responded when asked how he felt in the first minute. The North Korean dictator said there were a number of “obstacles” to the meeting taking place in Singapore today.
“We overcame all of them and we are here today,” he told reporters through a translator. After shaking hands in front of a row of American and North Korean flags, Trump and Kim walked along a colonnade, inside the hotel and up a flight of stairs.
At 9:06 AM (local time), they entered the room where they held their one-on-one meeting. The translator sat beside Trump. The North Korean dictator said there were a number of “obstacles” to the meeting taking place in Singapore today.
“Well, it was not easy to get here. The past has placed many obstacles in our way but we overcame all of them and we are here today,” he told reporters through a translator. Trump then said “Thank you very much”.
Fourteen reporters are participating in the tight pool, seven each from the US and North Korea.
On the agenda is North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, which Trump is hoping to convince them to abandon in exchange for economic assistance. Sentosa is a popular tourist island a few hundred metres off the main island of Singapore.
The summit – the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader – will mark a turnaround of relations between Trump and Kim after a long-running exchange of threats and insults. On the eve of the summit, the US offered “unique” security guarantees to North Korea in return for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearisation.
The White House has confirmed that President Trump, 71, and Kim, 34, will initially hold a one-on-one meeting, with only translators present. The US insists it will accept nothing less than complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
The official North Korean news agency said on Sunday that Kim was ready to talk about “denuclearisation” and a “durable peace” at a summit held “for the first time in history under the great attention and expectation of the whole world.”
Trump said on Saturday that Kim has a “one-time shot” to make history. “I feel that Kim Jong-un wants to do something great for his people,” he had said.