This combination of file photos show US President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) top leader Kim Jong-un. The two leaders are expected to meet on June 12, 2018 in Singapore for a historic summit. (AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI, KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/KOREA NEWS SERVICE VIA AP, FILE)
SINGAPORE — President Donald Trump landed in Singapore on Sunday evening, joining top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un in the island city-state ahead of one of the most highly anticipated summits in recent world history.
Trump flew into Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base aboard Air Force One, directly following his divisive meeting in Canada with some of Washington’s closest allies that further strained global trade ties.
After a 20-hour journey from Canada, Trump was received at the air base by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Asked by a reporter how he is feeling about the summit, Trump said: “Very good.” He then got into his waiting limousine.
US President Donald Trump arrives at Paya Lebar Air Base for a summit with top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un, June 10, 2018, in Singapore. (EVAN VUCCI / AP)
Trump’s arrival came just hours after Kim landed in the ultra-modern city-state on his longest trip overseas as head of state.
The two are due to meet on Tuesday on the resort island of Sentosa for their high-stakes summit, the first-ever talks between a US and DPRK leader and the culmination of a head-spinning diplomatic dance.
Such a meeting was unthinkable just months ago when Trump and Kim were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war in the region. But a series of diplomatic overtures involving the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States reduced tensions and led Trump in March to quickly accept Kim’s invitation to meet.
Trump initially touted the potential for a grand bargain with the DPRK to rid itself of a nuclear missile program that has advanced rapidly to threaten the US, insisting he would swiftly achieve what previous US administrations have failed to do.
But he has since lowered expectations, saying the talks would be more about starting a relationship with Kim for a negotiating process that would take more than one summit. This has included backing away from an original demand for the DPRK’s swift denuclearization.
Trump frequently has boasted of his negotiating prowess as a former real estate developer, and his ability to read people, even though his businesses have declared multiple bankruptcies.
Trump told reporters in Canada on Saturday any agreement with Kim would be “spur of the moment,” underscoring the uncertain outcome of what he called a “mission of peace.”
In this photo released by the Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore, Top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un, left, is greeted by Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan at the Changi International Airport, June 10, 2018, in Singapore, ahead of a summit with US President Donald Trump. (MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION SINGAPORE VIA AP)
In a New Year's address, Kim said his country had completed development of its nuclear program and would focus on economic development, suggesting a meeting with the ROK.
After a flurry of contacts between the two Koreas, ROK officials suggested to Trump in March that Kim would be willing to meet face-to-face.
The summit comes after weeks of sometimes-contentious discussions and was briefly cancelled amid DPRK outrage over messaging from some US advisers.
Trump and Kim are expected to meet at 9:00 am on Tuesday for talks focusing on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The back-on-track summit followed a whirlwind of diplomacy after Trump called off the meeting in late May.