The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has arrived in Singapore ahead of one of the most unusual and highly anticipated summits in recent world history, a meeting on Tuesday with the US president, Donald Trump, meant to settle a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.
The jet carrying Kim landed at the airport on Sunday afternoon local time amid huge security precautions. Singapore released a picture of Kim and the foreign minister shaking hands. A large limousine with a North Korean flag could be seen surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted windows as it sped through the city to the St Regis hotel, where China’s president, Xi Jinping, once stayed.
It was not clear if he had shipped over the bulletproof and fireproof limousine that became a point of interest when Kim was shown being driven across the border between the Koreas during his first summit with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in April, with a dozen bodyguards encircling the car.
The Straits Times reported earlier this month that the Singapore government said four black BMW sedans with armoured bodies were exempt from certain traffic rules until 30 June. The newspaper said the vehicles were not from a local dealer, which suggested the cars were brought in specifically for the summit and may be used by Kim. The North Korean leader will bring his own cohort of bodyguards.
Key discussion points at the summit are North Korea’s nuclear weapons and peace on the Korean peninsula. North Korea spent decades developing nuclear weapons, culminating in the test of a thermonuclear device in 2017. It also successfully tested missiles that could reach the US mainland.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived at Singapore’s presidential palace for a meeting with the city state’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Kim told Lee: “The entire world is watching the historic summit between the DPRK and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts … we were able to complete the preparation for the historic summit.”
In attendance were members of Kim’s delegation that included his vice-chairman of the Central Committee Kim Yong-chol and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho.
Trump’s Air Force One is expected to arrive at the Paya Lebar airbase in Singapore’s eastern region just past 8.30pm local time. Trump and his delegation will stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, a 10-minute walk from the St Regis Hotel.