Sunday June 10, 2018
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Singapore for what is shaping up to be a historic summit with President Trump, the first meeting between the leaders of two countries that have been sworn enemies for almost seven decades.Kim has embarked on a flurry of diplomacy this year, holding two meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and two with China’s Xi Jinping, leading to this first-ever summit between a North Korean leader and a sitting American president.
However, it remains far from clear what kind of agreement on North Korea’s nuclear program the two leaders will be able to forge during their summit on Tuesday.
Kim landed at Singapore’s Changi airport shortly before 3 p.m. local time Sunday and traveled in his armored Mercedes Benz limousine through one of the island state’s swankiest shopping districts to the five-star St. Regis Hotel.
This trip is the farthest the third-generation North Korean leader has traveled since he took power at the end of 2011, and it has the highest stakes.
After overseeing rapid advances in North Korea’s nuclear and missile technology last year, Kim now appears to be turning his attention to his country’s economy and particularly to getting rid of the international sanctions that are hampering its growth.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, arriving in Singapore, appears to have taken an Air China Boeing 747. (Terence Tan/Ministry of Communications and Information, Republic of Singapore)
The nuclear program has enabled Kim to project confidence, analysts say, and he is now trying to metamorphose from a nuclear-armed tyrant into responsible international statesman.
The streets were lined with tourists and journalists trying to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic North Korean leader, who is set to meet with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later on Sunday.
Trump, meanwhile, is expected to arrive in Singapore at about 8:30 p.m. local time and is due to meet with Lee on Monday. Kim’s schedule on Monday is not known.
Kim and Trump will sit down for talks at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, usually better known for hosting Singapore’s Universal Studios amusement park.