Trump seeks ‘very meaningful’ summit in Singapore with N Korea
WASHINGTON – Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump said on May 10 that he had high hopes of “doing something very meaningful” to curtail North Korea’s nuclear ambitions at a summit in Singapore next month, after Pyongyang smoothed the way for talks by freeing three American prisoners.
The date and location of the first-ever meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader were announced by Trump on Twitter.
“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 wrote.
He made the announcement after a U.S. government aircraft touched down at Joint Base Andrews near Washington carrying the Americans who were released by North Korea in a move to clear the way for the bilateral summit.
The ex-prisoners are Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-chul, who was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years’ hard labor; Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, who taught for a month at a foreign-funded university before he was arrested in 2017; and Kim Hak-song, who also taught there and was detained last year.
North Korean state media said they were arrested for subversion or “hostile acts” against Pyongyang.
Trump faces a difficult task persuading Kim to abandon nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests that heightened U.S.-North Korean tensions throughout 2017.
The two men exchanged fiery rhetoric last year over North Korea’s attempts to build a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States.
But tensions have since eased, starting around the time of the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
Trump greeted the freed Americans in the early hours of May 10. He said on their arrival that he believed Kim, who has led North Korea for seven years and is believed to be in his mid-30s, wanted to bring his country “into the real world.”