It is an image that has gone around the world in the blink of an eye. For the first time in history, a sitting US President meets and poses for a photograph shaking hands with a North Korean leader.
With the entire world watching, President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un met one another Tuesday at a hotel in Singapore in front of a display of American and North Korean flags. They began their historic face-to-face summit over the fate of Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal and the prospect of peace between the two nations.
Speaking to reporters with Kim sitting by his side, Trump said: ‘I feel really great we’ll have a great discussion and I think a great success, tremendously successful. It’s my honor. We’ll have a tremendous relationship no doubt.”
“The past was filled with obstacles and prejudices, but we got past them and we are here today,” Kim responded through his interpreter.
The meeting between the two leaders was billed by political experts as one of the most highly anticipated diplomatic meetings in the last century.
President Trump said Monday he would know if Kim was sincere about peace within the first couple of minutes of their meeting.
The schedule for the meeting has been set for several days. Trump and Kim will meet one-on-one with only their translators as witnesses to the historic meeting for about an hour.
Following their time together, aides for Trump and Kim are also scheduled to join the pair for more discussion and then transition to a working lunch.
Up early in preparation for the meeting Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly … but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”
U.S. officials have said a best-case scenario would be that the summit serves as the platform for further negotiations, providing Kim and his heavily-sanctioned nation with economic guarantees in exchange for dismantling his country’s nuclear capabilities once and for all.
“I believe we’re going to have a terrific success or a modified success,” Trump said during a press conference last week with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “But I really believe that we have the potential to do something incredible for the world. And it’s my honor to be involved.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to keep expectations about the talks in check.
“We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks,” Pompeo said.
More to come on this developing story…