US President Donald Trump on Thursday revealed that his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Singapore on June 12.
It would be the first-ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
The location and date of the landmark meeting were announced in a presidential tweet just hours after Trump welcomed to the United States three American prisoners released by Pyongyang.
“We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Trump wrote.
The talks, which are expected to last one day, are set to focus on North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.
“I think it will be a big success,” Trump said as he boarded Air Force One, on his way to a political rally in Indiana.
US officials said the release of Americans Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul removed a major obstacle to the summit, providing Trump with some tangible evidence that his twin-track policy of engagement and “maximum pressure” was working.
“We’re not under any illusions about who these people are. We know who we are dealing with here,” said Victoria Coates, of the National Security Council.
“But we got, up front, our people home.”
The United States and North Korea are technically still at war — a stop-gap armistice ended the brutal three-year Korean war in 1953 and around 30,000 American troops remain in neighboring South Korea, which the US supported in the conflict.
Singapore will provide a neutral backdrop for the summit, avoiding some of the security and political challenges associated with a meeting in the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.
The Southeast Asia city state has long acted as a bridge between the United States and China, with successive prime ministers offering Oval Office occupants their cherished geopolitical counsel.
When Trump and Kim do sit down a month from now, the two relatively untested leaders will be presented with a puzzle that has stymied seasoned diplomats for decades.
A series of US administrations have sent envoys, both official and unofficial, to Pyongyang in the hope of stopping North Korea’s provocative nuclear weapons program.
Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter visited after leaving office, multiple rounds of non-proliferation talks have taken place, and a deal was even signed in 1994.
Despite the optimism of that moment, all efforts to limit North Korea’s nuclear program have, to date, failed. And more than two decades and multiple provocative weapons tests after the last accord, the threat from Pyongyang has only grown.
The country is now believed to be on the cusp of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.
Trump has vowed that he will not let that happen and has demanded that North Korea give up its nukes.
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