North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and his attaches arrived in Singapore Sunday, all aboard a Chinese jetliner.
Several hours later, President Donald Trump would arrive aboard Air Force One, the Straits-Times reports. Having just come from a G7 summit in Canada where he was the primary topic of discussion and inarguably the center of attention, President Trump was greeted by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
The American President arrived early in Singapore, slightly ahead of the posted schedule. Having left the G7 summit early after sparring on the subject of trade tariffs with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Trump tweeted a note about the upcoming summit and his hopes that it could achieve a positive result.
…Create peace and great prosperity for his land. I look forward to meeting him and have a feeling that this one-time opportunity will not be wasted!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
The lead-up to the conference has been very shaky since it was first conceived in May, with several cancellations and threats of cancellation having taken place between the two mercurial leaders, mostly mitigated by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The South Korean President is considered to be a massive impetus for these talks, a third man with a more balanced disposition for deep negotiations, and perhaps the single greatest hope that the talks have of success according to the South China Morning Post.
Despite this claim, President Moon Jae-in is not scheduled to appear in person for the summit, instead sending a senior official. Mr. Nam Gwan Pyo, a deputy director of South Korea’s National Security Office, will be on hand to represent his nation’s interests during this first step towards peace.
“While watching the situation closely, we will maintain close coordination (with officials those holding US-North Korea summit),” Mr. Nam Gwan Pyo said to reporters assembled outside of his jetliner prior to departure from South Korea. Seoul is not sending the deputy director alone, he will arrive with an entourage of top-level aides and diplomats.
Concerns that the summit would not take place have turned out to be baseless, however, as the primaries have arrived or are set to arrive in Singapore and everything appears to be on or ahead of schedule. Despite an enormous level of excitement amongst the general population both on the ground in Singapore and across the world at the prospect for nuclear disarmament and an end to the war between North and South Korea, expectations have been tempered by those involved. According to a transcription of remarks made to the press after the G7 put forward by Whitehouse.gov and reported at length by the Wall Street Journal, President Trump sees the summit as more of an opening, a first meeting, and an establishment of character.
“In just a few minutes, I’ll be leaving for Singapore. I’ll be on a mission of peace, and we will carry in, really — in my heart, we’re going to be carrying the hearts of millions of people, people from all over the world. We have to get denuclearization. We have to get something going. We really think that North Korea will be a tremendous place in a very short period of time. And we appreciate everything that’s going on. We appreciate the working together with North Korea. They’re really working very well with us. So I say — so far, so good. We’re going to have to see what happens. And we’re going to know very soon.”
Facing a pointed question about what he hoped to gain out of the summit, Trump responded with the following.
“You’d start at least a dialogue. Because, you know, as a deal person, I’ve done very well with deals. What you want to do is start that. Now, I’d like to accomplish more than that. But at a minimum, I do believe, at least we’ll have met each other. We will have seen each other. Hopefully we will have liked each other and we’ll start that process.”
Trump and Kim are set to meet for their part of the negotiations Tuesday morning, with Kim departing immediately after the scheduled discussion. President Trump is set to delay his departure by a day, leaving for American shores the following day.