In case you’ve been living under a rock, US President Donald Trump is set to meet with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un in Singapore tomorrow, 12 June.
It is the first time a sitting US President will meet with a North Korean leader and we think the only thing we can expect is that we have absolutely no idea what to expect, what with Trump eschewing ‘traditional’ preparation and favouring his attitude and gumption instead.
Questions will inevitably abound with such a momentous event, so we’ve done our best to compile a reference sheet with just the facts, nothing else (we mostly promise).
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un (duh).
Behind the scenes, a US delegation has been in South Korea for over a week trying to establish what Trump and Kim will discuss at the summit. These communications are expected to continue long after the summit concludes.
The five star Capella Hotel on Sentosa in Singapore.
Its colonial exterior belies 112 rooms including, fittingly, two presidential suites, one of which, the Colonial Manor, is a standalone property which is a boon for privacy.
As an emerging hub for regional diplomacy, Singapore is neutral ground for both North Korea and the US – both have embassies and both trade in the country (though North Korea currently can’t due to sanctions).
Security will undoubtedly be a top priority for Singapore but that Sentosa is an island in itself may simplify things because of its restricted access.
Also simplifying things is that Singapore also doesn’t tolerate rowdy protests – it’s one less thing the incredibly busy security detail will have to worry about.
For anyone other than North Koreans, the Holy Grail of the summit would probably be CVID (complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program), though of course, “building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism” is a hot topic too.
Basically, denuclearisation and peace are the best-case scenario aims.
You read that right – denuclearisation is a term that’s rife with different interpretations. This is what has analysts concerned, that North Korea think denuclearisation means one thing (‘Oh, I only have to give up my short range missiles? Sure.’) and that the US thinks another.
Whatever happens, it’s clear that a lot rides on Trump’s deal-making prowess.
The award for Best Supporting Country goes to…
South Korea – President Moon Jae In has played a fundamental role in opening up diplomacy with the North Koreans and at the most recent winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, North and South Korea marched and competed together under one unified Korean flag.
CVID would be nice, but as Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs put it in a recent interview with BBC, “You don’t resolve 70 years of suspicion, of war, and quite frankly of previous diplomatic failures, in one meeting. It’s a huge step. It’s a positive step. It’s not the final step.”
Sources: CNN, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs