Singapore is pleasant in June.
And it’s on June 12 that the much anticipated summit will take place between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
@realDonaldTrump: 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!
That’s a mere four weeks away and you can bet the wheels of diplomacy are whirring the world over ahead of what will be an historic event.
“We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” the president tweeted, confirming the date and location for the meeting.
It will be the first time EVER a sitting US president and a North Korean leader have sat down face to face. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall?
So, why Singapore?
Well, the biggest advantage is that it’s a neutral location. These are the other considerations in its favour:
- It’s not too far for the little travelled Mr Kim to go
- It’s a trusted US partner
- It has modern amenities
- It’s got very effective security apparatus, which is obviously key in these circumstances
Singapore is also familiar ground for North Korea, with the two countries having diplomatic relations since 1975. The country also has its embassy in Singapore’s central business district.
Nuclear and proliferation expert Tom Plant from London’s Royal United Services Institute told the Associated Press the city is a “great location” for the summit.
“Kim will be on friendly territory, not hostile territory. But he wouldn’t be on home turf,” Mr Plant said.
And what will happen at the meeting?
There still isn’t a lot of detail about what will take place at the summit itself. But Mr Trump’s upbeat language has raised expectations for what it could achieve.
“People never thought a thing like this could happen, it can,” he said.
“People never thought you were going to have a situation where we’re having serious and positive communication with North Korea and we are.
“What happens, who knows? But we have a chance at something really great for the world and great for North Korea and great for everyone.”
Even North Korea’s papers appeared optimistic:
Extraordinary: The front page of North Korea’s main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, has Kim Jong Un shaking hands with a former military man/spy chief; appreciating Trump’s “deep interest” in dialogue; and hoping to see Pompeo again. KJU is personally invested in this process.
There’s even been some talk that if a deal is reached, Mr Trump could be in line for some accolades himself.
His thoughts on that:
President Trump at a Cabinet meeting after being asked if he thinks you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for North Korea: “Everyone thinks so, but I would never say that.”
What is the likelihood a deal could actually be reached?
Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula remains America’s aim, but we’re still a long way from that.
Mr Kim craves legitimacy but the US and allies like Australia — and especially near neighbours like Japan and South Korea — will be looking for verified actions before loosening the screws.
That creates a very delicate environment for negotiations at the talks, where North Korea will be gratified by the photo op, but will also be looking for a further reward for good behaviour.
Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the President is making his large presence felt in all sorts of places.