UPDATE – POTUS has confirmed that the summit will take place in Singapore on June 12 2018:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018
President of the United States of America (POTUS) Donald Trump has selected Singapore as the venue to host his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. CNN reported yesterday that US officials prefer to hold the summit in Singapore, due to its neutral stance and infrastructure, while official confirmation is expected to come in the next few days.
Administration officials have reportedly been instructed to begin organising the meeting. The CNN report followed North Korea’s release of three US citizens who had been held prisoner – a move that bodes well for the forthcoming summit.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that the US’ goals for the summit is the immediate “permanent, verifiable irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program.” It remains unclear whether the Pyongyang regime will accept this demand but both sides are reportedly confident that the meeting will be mutually successful. Pompeo said:
“Now that part is behind us for sure, and we had a chance to talk substantively about what we intend to be on the agenda, and also how we’re going to begin to coordinate in the days ahead between now and the summit in a way that we – both sides are confident that we will set the conditions for a successful meeting between the two leaders.”
The CNN report came after Trump confirmed that the meeting will not take place in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea – a venue he is said to have previously preferred.
Some analysts have predicted that the summit could take place in Marina Bay Sands since it is owned by one of the POTUS’ biggest campaign donors, Sheldon Adelson. The owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Adelson is said to be close to Mr Trump, to the point that he is believed to advise the President on Middle East policy matters.
The little red dot last hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic meeting with then-Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou three years ago, in 2015.
Author of notable Asian newsletter Nelson Report, Chris Nelson, noted: “It will surprise most observers if the pick isn’t Singapore, apparently at the outer limits of Kim’s personal aircraft if he wants a non-stop flight. Trump today did say the reachable-by-train DMZ has been ruled out.”
Mintaro Oba, a former state department official who worked on Korean negotiations, told the Guardian: “Singapore wasn’t my first choice for the North Korea summit location. But Singapore is a very valued US partner and a remarkable city-state that punches many times above its weight. This is a good choice.”