U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to sit at the same table for the first time on Tuesday in Singapore, amid growing hopes that their historic summit will mark a breakthrough for peace and stability in Asia.
The major focus is on whether Washington and Pyongyang will agree on how to achieve denuclearization on the divided Korean Peninsula and agree to end the 1950-1953 Korean War, which only concluded with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.
The first-ever summit between the United States and North Korea could bring about a historic transformation of the security order in the Asia-Pacific region that has been in effect since World War II.
The Trump-Kim meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Singapore time on Tuesday at a hotel on the resort island of Sentosa. The two leaders, who both arrived in the wealthy city-state on Sunday, have not even spoken previously on the phone.
Trump, who wants North Korea to realize complete denuclearization on the peninsula by the end of his first presidential term in January 2021, is expected to urge Kim to set a specific roadmap for nuclear disarmament.
Kim, meanwhile, is likely to call for security guarantees for Pyyongyang from Washington by vowing to denuclearize in a “phased” and “synchronized” manner, underscoring that there remains a gap between the two nations over what denuclearization means.
North Korea’s official media reported Monday that Kim plans to discuss denuclearization and a “permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism” on the peninsula, as well as a “new” relationship with the United States and other issues of mutual concern “required by the changed era,” when he meets Trump.
[Courtesy of the Singaporean Government]
If the United States is satisfied with North Korea’s pledge toward denuclearization, Trump and Kim could declare the end of the Korean War in Singapore.
Trump has called the summit a “one-time shot” for Kim, and said he will know “within the first minute” of meeting Kim whether the North’s leader is serious about denuclearization.
In the war, U.N. forces led by the United States fought alongside South Korea against the North, supported by China and the Soviet Union. Hostilities ceased with an armistice agreement signed on July 27, 1953, by the U.S.-led U.N. Command, North Korea and China.
Kim has recently committed to “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and agreed with South Korean President Moon Jae In in their April 27 summit to strive to formally end the Korean War this year.
During his meeting with Moon’s special envoys in early March in Pyongyang, Kim expressed willingness to take part in talks with the United States on denuclearization and the normalization of bilateral ties. Later in the month, Trump decided to meet with Kim.
Although Trump in late May abruptly canceled the summit, citing hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang, the U.S. president later announced it was back on after meeting Kim Yong Chol, a close aide to the North Korean leader, at the White House.
Singapore has maintained diplomatic relations with North Korea for more than 40 years. The city-sate has been serving as a broker between Pyongyang and Washington, which have no diplomatic ties.