2018 North Korea–United States summit

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2018 North Korea–United States Summit
DPRK–USA Singapore Summit
DPRK–USA Singapore Summit (US logo).png

Kim and Trump shaking hands at the red carpet during the DPRK–USA Singapore Summit.jpg
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump shaking hands at the start of the summit

Host country  Singapore
Date June 12, 2018
09:00 SGT (01:00 UTC)
Venue(s) Capella Hotel[1]
Participants United States Donald Trump
North Korea Kim Jong-un
2018 North Korea–United States summit
North Korean name
Chosŏn’gŭl 조미 수뇌상봉
Hancha 朝美 首腦相逢
South Korean name
Hangul 북미 정상회담
Hanja 北美 頂上會談

U.S. President Donald Trump met with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, in the first summit meeting between the leaders of the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). They signed a joint statement, agreeing to security guarantees for North Korea, new peaceful relations, reaffirmation of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, recovery of soldiers’ remains, and follow-up negotiations between high-level officials. Immediately following the summit, Trump announced that the US would discontinue “provocative” joint military exercises with South Korea and would “eventually” withdraw troops stationed there.[2][3]

Singapore, considered a politically benign territory by both sides, made thorough preparations to host the summit, which took place at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the summit had cost the Singaporean government S$16.3 million (US$12 million)[4], half of which was spent on security measures. Each leader also met with Prime Minister Lee prior to their summit meeting.

After a period of heightened conflict that included North Korea successfully testing what it claims was its first hydrogen bomb and the Hwasong-15intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in late 2017, tensions began to de-escalate after Kim Jong-un announced his desire to send athletes to the 2018 Olympics being held in South Korea. During the games, Kim proposed talks with South Korea to plan an inter-Korean summit. On March 8, the South Korean delegation returned from the talks and traveled to the United States to deliver an invitation by Kim Jong-un to Trump for a meeting. High-level exchanges between the two sides then took place, including a visit by then CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang and a visit by Kim Yong-chol, Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, to the White House. Both sides threatened to cancel the summit after a round of joint military exercises by the US and South Korea, with Trump even delivering a formal letter to Kim to call off the meeting; however, the two sides eventually agreed to meet.


USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group and South Korean Navy vessels having a joint exercise on May 3, 2017

Korea has been divided since 1945. The Korean War of 1950–1953 ended with an armistice agreement but not a peace settlement. A sporadic conflict has continued, with American troops remaining in the South as part of a mutual defense treaty. The North began building a nuclear reactor in 1963, and it began a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. North Korea first committed to denuclearization in 1992 in the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In a speech authored by David Frum, President George W. Bush referred to North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” during his 2002 State of the Union address,[6] but in the 2005 Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks, North Korea reaffirmed the 1992 Joint Declaration and the goal of verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In 2008, North Korea voluntarily gave information on its nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief, and they were taken off the State Sponsors of Terrorismlist. Despite this, nuclear inspectors were barred from surveying any North Korean weapons facilities.[7] The Obama administration had a policy of “strategic patience”, in which perceived North Korean provocations would not be “rewarded” with presidential attention or the sending of high-level envoys but instead be punished with sanctions and greater military coordination with South Korea and Japan.[8] More nuclear tests were conducted in the succeeding years, and the 2010 bombardment of Yeonpyeong markedly raised tensions between North Korea and South Korea. The escalation of North Korea’s nuclear program advanced particularly under the rule of Kim Jong-un, who became the leader in December 2011, after his father Kim Jong-il died.[6]

Donald Trump was elected US President in 2016 with a position of opposition to Barack Obama‘s policy of “strategic patience” towards North Korea. While advocating a tough stance, he also expressed openness to dialogue, saying he would be prepared to “eat a hamburger” with Kim. He put himself at odds with military allies, saying that it would be better if South Korea and Japan protect themselves. In return, a pro-North Korean website, DPRK Today, described him as a “wise politician”.[9] The editorial suggested that Trump might make the slogan “Yankee go home” a reality.[10] In 2017, Moon Jae-inwas elected President of South Korea with a promise to return to the Sunshine Policy of friendly relations with the North.[11]

Artist’s conception of the Hwasong-15 on its mobile launch vehicle, depicted to scale.

North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), named Hwasong-14, in July 2017.[12] In response to heightened North Korean rhetoric, Trump warned that any North Korean attack “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before”. In response, North Korea announced that it was considering a missile test in which the missiles would land near the US territory of Guam.[13][14] North Korea tested what some sources argued may have been its first hydrogen bomb on September 3.[15] The test was internationally condemned, and further economic sanctions were put on North Korea.[16] The United States also added North Korea back to its State Sponsors of Terrorism list after nine years.[17] On November 28, North Korea launched the Hwasong-15, which, according to analysts, would be capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.[18] The United Nations responded by placing further sanctions on the country.[19] After North Korea claimed that the missile was capable of “carrying [a] super-heavy [nuclear] warhead and hitting the whole mainland of the U.S.”, Kim-Jong-Un announced that they had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force”,[20] putting them in a position of strength to push the United States into talks.[21]

Moon Jae-in (standing, lower left) with the North Korean representatives (upper right) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (lower right) at the PyeongChang Olympics

In his New Year address for 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un celebrated completing their nuclear capabilities and proposed talks for sending a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.[22] In January a false missile alertalarmed Hawaii.[23] The Seoul–Pyongyang hotline was reopened after almost two years.[24] North Korea sent an unprecedented high-level delegation, headed by Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un, and President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam, and including performers like the Samjiyon Orchestra.[25] The delegation passed on an invitation to President Moon to visit North Korea.[25] The United States was represented by Vice President Mike Pence. After arriving late to a dinner hosted by President Moon, he was asked to greet the other dignitaries, but he shook hands with everyone except Kim Yong-nam and left early.[26][27][28] North and South Korean athletes marched together in the Olympics opening ceremony and fielded a united women’s ice hockey team.[29]


Chung Eui-yong (left), the South Korean national security chief, and Kim Jong-un meeting in Pyongyang on March 5, 2018. Kim is holding a letter from President Moon Jae-in arranging for direct peace talks.

On March 5, 2018, South Korea‘s special delegation agreed to hold the third inter-Korean summit at Inter-Korean Peace House in Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.[30] On March 6, after returning to South Korea, the national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, and National Information Director Suh Hoon traveled to the United States on March 8 to report to Trump about the upcoming inter-Korean summit and relayed to Trump the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation.[31] Trump endorsed the North Korea–United States summit about an hour after receiving the report. The South Korean National Security Adviser (SKNS), Mr. Jeong briefed the public that the North Korea–United States summit would be held sometime in May 2018.[32]

ROK President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump, November 2017

The White House announced that the UN Sanctions would remain in place until an agreement between the United States and North Korea is reached.[33] On March 6, Sarah Sanders said that the White House would need to see “concrete and verifiable steps” toward the denuclearization of North Korea before Trump would meet with Kim Jong-un. Later that day, an unidentified Trump official told The Wall Street Journalthat Trump had still accepted Kim Jong-un’s invitation.[34]

South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong visited China on March 12 to meet with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, of the foreign officials and report on the planned inter-Korean summit as well as the North Korea-United States summit and asked their advice.[35] Russia on March 14, 2018, for explaining North Korea and the United States Visit Summary, seeking guidance for upcoming 2018 inter-Korean summit.[36] National Information Director Suh Hoon visited Japan and had a consultation with Prime Minister Shinzō Abeincluding the foreign officials about the denuclearization and Permanent Peace on the Korean Peninsula.[37][38]


Preparatory talks[edit]

South Korea’s foreign ministry announced on March 18 that selected informal delegations from North Korea, South Korea, and the US would meet for denuclearization discussions in April in VantaaFinland. (This type of discussions, as held previously, had sometimes been referred to as track-2 talks.)[39] According to South Korea’s Yonhap news, Choe Kang-il, a deputy director general for North American affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry, would also attend the event, which Yonhaptermed “track-1.5 talks”.[40]

Kim Jong-un’s meeting with Xi Jinping[edit]

Chinese leader Xi Jinpingmet Kim in China in March and May 2018, the North Korean leader’s first known international visits.

North Korea’s supreme leader Kim was in Beijing on March 25–28, 2018, arriving by special train for talks with China’s paramount leader Xi Jinping, Kim’s first known out-of-country excursion since taking power six years previously.[41] China stated that North Korea was “committed to denuclearization” and willing to hold a summit with the United States.[42][43] It was organized by the invitation of Xi. During the meeting between two leaders, Kim officially invited Xi to the North Korean capital Pyongyang when it was convenient in his schedule, and Xi accepted the invitation.[44] Xi urged Kim to strengthen the strategic and diplomatic future partnership between China and North Korea. Kim stressed to Xi that North Korea and China are communist countries and that there are many ways to cooperate in various aspects in the future.[45][46] Kim and Xi met again on May 7, 2018, in the city of Dalian, China.[47]

Announcement within North Korea[edit]

According to North Korea’s state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim led a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s political bureau on April 9, where he spoke about the planned summit with Trump for the first time.[48]

Proposed conditions by North Korea[edit]

On April 11, North Korea presented five entreaties as conditions for the dismissal of their nuclear-capable ICBMs:

  1. Ensuring the United States and South Korea do not locate nuclear weapons strategic assets within the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula[49]
  2. Ceasing development or operation of strategic nuclear assets during USFKROK combined military training
  3. Ensuring the United States will not attack North Korea with conventional or nuclear weapons
  4. Converting the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement into a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula
  5. Establishing official diplomatic ties between North Korea and the United States.

Although North Korea was previously expected to request the withdrawal of United States Forces Korea (USFK) from South Korea, North Korea publicized they would embrace the continuous deployment of 25,000 USFK troops in South Korea as long as the security of North Korea is guaranteed.[50]

Release of the American detainees[edit]

On the 10 of May, three Americans held by the North Korean regime were released following the advanced negotiations between the Trump administration and the North Korean regime and immense pressure by the Trump administration for their release. Some have speculated that their release was part of an attempt of the regime to motivate the US to continue the negotiations and perhaps ease the pressure upon the North Koreans. Nevertheless, their release has managed to ease the tensions between the Trump administration and the North Korean regime, enabling both sides to proceed to further negotiations, possibly leading to the 2018 North Korea–United States summit.

The three Americans left North Korea accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and were greeted by the president and the first lady upon their landing on US soil at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland[51]

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcome home three American returnees from North Korea.

April 2018 inter-Korean summit[edit]

Kim and President of South KoreaMoon Jae-in shake hands in greeting, in an initiating gesture for the April 2018 inter-Korean summit.

At an inter-Korean summit on April 27, 2018, held at the Peace House in Panmunjom, the leaders of North and South Korea agreed to formally end the Korean War before the end of the year and confirmed the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through denuclearization.[52]

Tensions, cancelation, and reinstatement[edit]

A commemorative coin released on May 21 by the White House Communications Agency for the summit[53]

Letter sent to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by US President Donald Trump informing Kim of the cancellation of the summit

American Vice President Mike Pence said on May 21, 2018, that “this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal” to “dismantle his nuclear weapons program”. Trump had made similar remarks on May 17, as he described that Libya’s fate is “what will take place if we don’t make a deal”. These comments were in reference to the killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after military intervention by Americans and Europeans in 2011. After a NATO airstrike prevented Gaddafi’s escape, the Libyan rebels captured, beat up, sodomized,[54] and executed Gaddafi. However, Libya under Gaddafi had already in 2003 voluntarily ended its nuclear weapons program and complied with conditions set by Western powers.[55] As a result, North Korean vice foreign minister Choe Son-hui called Pence’s remarks “ignorant and stupid” and threatened a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown”.[56][57][58]

Trump canceled the summit on May 24, 2018, via a letter to Chairman Kim, writing that “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting … You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” Even though it was Trump who decided to cancel, Trump told Kim, “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”[59][60]

South Korean President Moon was left “very perplexed” by Trump’s cancellation, while the South Korean minister in charge of inter-Korean affairs Cho Myoung-gyon said that North Korea “remains sincere” on “efforts on denuclearization and peace building”.[61]

In response to Trump’s cancellation, North Korean vice foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan expressed his country’s “willingness to sit down face-to-face with the US and resolve issues anytime and in any format”, being “open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the US” for the “peace and stability for the world and the Korean Peninsula”.[61] Trump’s cancellation had come on the day North Korea had detonated explosives at its only known nuclear test site, at Punggye-ri in front of international journalists; North Korea claimed that this would have demolished the test site.[62]

On May 25, however, Trump announced that the summit could resume as scheduled following a “very nice statement” he received from North Korea and that talks were now resuming.[63]

The following day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed in a statement that a “pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare the summit should take place”. The team, consisting of about thirty staffers from both the White House and State Department, met with North Korean counterparts over Memorial Day weekend.[64]

Kim Yong-chol met with Pompeo on May 30, and with Trump on June 1.

On May 30, North Korean general Kim Yong-chol arrived in New York City to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.[65] Negotiations between Kim and Pompeo continued the next day, and Pompeo later stated at a press conference that “good progress” had been made.[66] Kim Yong-chol, who is the Vice Chair of Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the US since 2000 (when Jo Myong-rok met with US President Bill Clinton in Washington, D.C.).[67][68][69]

On June 1, Trump announced the summit would resume as scheduled for June 12 after he met Kim Yong-chol at the White House. Kim Yong-chol delivered a letter from Kim Jong-un to Trump,[70] of which Trump first told reporters that it was “a very nice” and “a very interesting letter”, yet eight minutes later said “I haven’t seen the letter yet. I purposely didn’t open the letter”.[71][72]

Replacement of North Korean generals[edit]

On June 3, North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un replaced three generals of highest military officers who are responsible for the development of North Korea’s ICBM nuclear weapons.[73]

Potential denuclearization process[edit]

During President Donald Trump‘s meeting with North Korea envoy, the former spy chief Kim Yong-chol[74] at the White House, Trump said that he would choose the “denuclearization process” in North Korea. The nuclear warheads and the ICBM nuclear missiles completed in North Korea could be transferred outside of North Korea and economic sanctions on North Korea could be partly alleviated. The next step would be comprehensive inspections on North Korea‘s nuclear facilities and nuclear ICBMweapons program by IAEA.[75][76][77]

Logistical preparations[edit]

On June 3, a “special event area” was declared by the Ministry of Home Affairs around the area surrounding the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore and stringent security measures will be in force from June 10–14. On the same day, a smaller segment within the “special event area” was declared a “special zone” by the Singapore Police Force where enhanced police powers will be in effect during the same period.[78] On June 5, the Ministry of Home Affairs (Singapore) declared the whole of Sentosa Island, including waters off its south-west beaches, a “special event area” from June 10–14. The summit venue Capella Singaporesits on the “special event area”. The government also issued an order exempting four bulletproof and bombproof vehicles from certain traffic rules for the purposes of conveying “non-citizen” individuals for the summit from June 5–30.[79]

The F1 Pit Building has also been designated as the summit’s International Media Centre for international journalists to cover the summit and will be operated from 10 am on June 10 to 10 pm on June 13.[80]

On June 6, Singapore’s aviation authorities announced that temporary airspace restrictions will be put in place for parts of June 11, 12 and 13. Aircraft arriving at Singapore Changi Airport will be required to reduce speed and some restrictions are placed on runway use. Aviators are also informed to stay away from Paya Lebar Air Base, a facility used by US Presidents on their previous visits to Singapore.[81][82]

The Singapore Mint also released three commemorative medallions to mark the summit.[83] They are available in gold proofsilver proof, and nickel plated zinc proof.[84]

On June 9, the Singapore Police Force and the Land Transport Authority announced that security measures, such as road closures and security checks, will kick in. Some bus stops in the Tanglin area will be skipped and security checks will be conducted along stretches of roads around the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore and the St Regis Hotel Singapore, the two hotels Trump and Kim are believed to be staying in. Bag searches and other security checks may be conducted for visitors entering Sentosa Island.[85]

On June 11, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan announced that the Singapore government would be paying for the North Korean contingent’s hotel bill, forming part of the total US$20 million expenditure for the summit, as it was “hospitality that we would have offered them”.[86] On June 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that the summit cost S$16.3 million lower than the initial planned cost mentioned by Prime Minister Lee.[87]

Diplomatic preparations[edit]

In preparation for the summit, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan visited the United States on a working visit and met with the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John R. Bolton.[88] He visited North Korea and met with North Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho and President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam to further lay the groundwork for the Trump-Kim summit.[89]

The United States did not convene a Cabinet-level National Security Council meeting to discuss the summit with North Korea. Trump said: “I think I’m very well prepared … I don’t think I have to prepare very much … this isn’t a question of preparation, it’s a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we’ll know that very quickly.”[90]

Media center[edit]

Logo used at the International Media Centre

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited the summit’s International Media Centre on June 10 when it opened. At a media conference, Lee mentioned that the summit cost S$20 million, with security costs taking up S$10 million and the setting up of the International Media Centre costing S$5 million, but it is a cost that Singapore is “willing to pay”.[91] The media center opened to journalists and they were given customized items, including a bottle of water, a fan, and a notebook. The center hosted more than 2500 local and international journalists.[92]

Meeting location[edit]


U.S. Secretary of State (then CIA DirectorMike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea on March 31, 2018

On March 31 and possibly also April 1, then-CIA director Mike Pompeo had secretly met with Kim in Pyongyang[93] to lay the groundwork for the summit, including their discussing possible venues.[94] On April 17, on the day of a meeting at Mar-a-Lago of Trump with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe, sources revealed to reporters the identities involved in the discussions in Pyongyang.[95]

Locations considered[edit]

Trump administration sources said on April 28 that the meeting would be held in either Singapore or Mongolia.[96] On April 30, Trump remarked on a possibility the Peace House and inter-Korean House of Freedom (Joint Security Area) in Panmunjom would serve as venues.[97] Trump believes that Panmunjom in DMZwould be the reasonable location for the meeting to remove nuclear weapons and to sign the preparatory peace treaty on the Korean peninsula.[98]

The inter-Korean Peace House was where the 2018 inter-Korean summit was held earlier in April. Singapore was the site of a recent China–Taiwan summitMongolia has sponsored a number of talks in recent years involving regional and international players and is accessible by train from North Korea.[99]

On April 30, Trump confirmed that Singapore, the Peace House and the inter-Korean House of Freedom were under consideration.[100]

American officials said the most likely mutually-agreed-upon choice of venue would be in Southeast Asia or Europe, especially from among the choices of Singapore, Vietnam (Communist country recognized by the US since 1995), Thailand, Switzerland (where Kim and his two siblings had some schooling),[101] or Sweden (whose embassy acts as intermediary for Americans traveling in North Korea).[102] Another possible location of the summit would be UlaanbaatarMongolia.[103][104]

Additionally proposed venues included Pyongyang, North Korea (favored by Kim); the Inter-Korean Peace House in Panmunjom near the boundary of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea (site for the April 27, 2018 inter-Korean summit; a site possibly favored by Kim for the summit with the US as well);[105][106] the Russian port city of Vladivostok (accessible to Kim by land or sea and nearby Vyatskoye, Kim’s predecessor and father Kim Jong-il‘s February 16, 1941 birthplace[107][108]);[109] a Chinese city such as ShenyangChangchun, or Beijing (favored by China); Seoul or South Korea‘s Jeju Island; or, aboard a US ship in international waters.[110][111]

Announcement on holding the talks in Singapore[edit]

North Korea’s Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol delivers a personal letter from Kim to Trump, in the White House Oval Office on June 1, 2018.

CNN reported on May 9 that Singapore will be hosting the meeting on June 12.[112][113] As per CNBC, a White House official said Singapore was chosen as it has diplomatic relations with both United States and North Korea, and was one of the few countries that have relationships with both countries.[114] Trump confirmed the location on May 10 and announced that the summit is set for June 12.[115][116] At 4,700 kilometres (2,900 mi) from Pyongyang’s Sunan airport, Singapore is easily within the range of Kim’s Soviet-made Il-62M aircraft.[117] Local media reported that the most likely choice of venue would be the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore near Orchard Road,[118] known for hosting the annual Shangri-La Dialogue and the 2015 Ma–Xi meeting. A South Korean report also cited The Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore, as a possible venue to host the summit.[119]

Trump together with Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol of the North Korean delegation, outside the Oval Office

An aerial view of the Capella Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs further provided information on the summit stating that “Singapore is pleased to host the meeting between President of the United States Donald J. Trump and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea State Affairs Commission Chairman Kim Jong-un on 12 June 2018. We hope this meeting will advance prospects for peace in the Korean Peninsula”. However, the ministry did not provide any details on the venue and the arrangements.[120]

Following Trump’s renewed commitment to the summit on June 1, Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen welcomed the move and stated that Singapore would cover some of the costs of the summit.[121] Advance team members of the American and North Korean delegations that were meeting in Singapore in prior weeks were believed to have been staying in Capella Singapore on Sentosa, and the Fullerton Hotel Singapore in the city’s Downtown Core respectively, both of which were additional venue options for the summit.[122]

The White House announced on June 4 that the meeting will take place at 9:00 am (SGT), and confirmed the next day that Capella Singapore will be the venue for the June 12 summit.[123] The US clarified that they would not pay for North Korea’s official’s accommodation. They also affirmed that they would talk with the South Korean and Japanese governments if asked about the possible declaration of the end of the Korean War during the summit.[124]

On June 9, 2018, at a press conference at the G7 Summit in Quebec, Trump estimated that the interpersonal chemistry[125]between him and Leader Kim Jong-un would be a deciding factor in the success of the Summit in Singapore and that this would be a one-time chance[126] for North Korea to strike a deal.[127]

Pre-summit events[edit]

Leaders’ arrivals[edit]

Kim arrived in Singapore in an Air China Boeing 747 registered B-2447[128][129]; Photo of this aircraft taken in Beijing in March 2018

Kim Jong-un’s limousine photographed on route to the St Regis Hotel

US President Donald Trump left the 44th G7 summit around four hours earlier than scheduled and departed directly for Singapore. He reportedly viewed the G7 summit as a “distraction” from his summit with Kim.[130] Trump landed at Singapore’s Paya Lebar Airbase at 20:20 local time and was welcomed by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.[131] A US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIItransport plane was already at the air base ahead of his arrival. Trump stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, which has also hosted previous US Presidents.[132]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un landed at Singapore Changi Airport on Sunday at about 14:35 local time and was welcomed by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung.[133] Kim flew to Singapore on a Boeing 747 operated by Air China, a plane used by the highest echelons of the Chinese leadership.[134][135][129] According to media reports, a cargo plane, an Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-76, containing food items and other perishables landed in Singapore from North Korea before Kim’s plane landed. Chiller trucks ferried them to the St. Regis Hotel Singapore where Kim stayed.[136] A third plane from North Korea, an Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-62, landed shortly afterward; Kim’s sister and Vice Director of the Propaganda and Agitation DepartmentKim Yo-jong, was believed to be on board.[137]

Working-level meetings[edit]

Both Trump and Kim have met separately with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.[138] Kim met Lee on Sunday evening at The Istana.[139] Trump met Lee on Monday afternoon, also at The Istana. He was accorded a bilateral meeting, followed by a working lunch and then an expanded bilateral meeting.[140] During the meeting, Trump accepted President Halimah Yacob‘s invitation to make a State Visit to Singapore in November 2018, in conjunction with the 6th ASEAN-US Summit and 13th East Asia Summit.[141]

A working-level meeting was held between the United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-hui, at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore on Monday morning. The meeting lasted over two hours and was believed to further work out the details of the summit between Trump and Kim and to push forward their agendas.[142][143]

Meanwhile, North Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho met with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday morning too.[144]

Pre-summit activities[edit]

Trump’s activities[edit]

After meeting Singapore’s Prime Minister, Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo met and thanked the team at the United States embassy in Singapore and Task Force 73 at Shangri-La Hotel.[145]

Trump then discussed the summit with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in in a 40-minute phone call, expressing that he is willing to take “bold decisions” while Moon said that South Koreans are praying for Trump to “create a miraculous result”.[146]He also spoke with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on the phone.[147]

US press briefing[edit]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a press briefing at the White House press room set up at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach Hotel on Monday afternoon. He mentioned details of the preparations done by the US delegation and that the US is willing to offer North Korea security guarantees in exchange for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.[148]

South Korea press briefing[edit]

A South Korean official spoke at a closed-door press briefing held at South Korea’s Korea Press Center, confirming that Moon Jae-in will not travel to Singapore to attend the summit, despite earlier speculations. Instead, South Korea sent a delegation to Singapore to monitor the summit.[149]

Kim’s tour of Singapore[edit]

Kim visited several of Singapore’s attractions in the Central Area together with his sister, Kim Yo-jong, on Monday evening. They visited the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, the Jubilee Bridge, and the Marina Bay Sands integrated resorts. They were accompanied by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, the same ministers who welcomed him at the airport the previous day.[150][151]

Dennis Rodman[edit]

Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman, who made a number of visits to North Korea to promote sports and developed a personal relationship with Chairman Kim over several years, announced that he would be in Singapore during the summit but would not be involved in the meeting.[152] Rodman arrived the day before the summit.[153] The basketball star broke down in tears live on CNN as he recounted the hostility he faced for meeting Kim Jong-un.[154]

Summit meeting[edit]

External video
 U.S.-North Korea Summit Sights and Sounds, June 11, 2018C-SPAN
 President Trump Greets North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, June 11, 2018C-SPAN

The summit was broadcast in real-time internationally.[155]

One-on-one meeting[edit]

Kim and Trump before the start of their one-on-one meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived at Capella Hotel first before United States President Donald Trump arrived six minutes later.[156] They started the summit at 9:05 am local time with a 12-second handshake and then participated in a one-on-one meeting, with interpreters only. Trump and Kim emerged from the one-on-one talks and walked down the corridor to the Cassia where the expanded bilateral meeting took place. Trump described the one-on-one meeting as “very very good” when asked by a reporter.[157][158] When Trump was asked if he had notes of the one-on-one meeting to refer back and verify, Trump replied, “I don’t have to verify because I have one of the great memories of all time”.[159]

Expanded bilateral meeting and working lunch[edit]

The expanded bilateral meeting between both the United States and North Korean delegations

Both countries’ delegations proceeded to participate in an expanded bilateral meeting and a working lunch.[160]

Both delegations dined together on Korean, Southeast Asian and Western dishes with ice cream, tropézienne, and dark chocolate tartlet ganache as dessert.[161] After the lunch, Trump and Kim took a short walk together and viewed the interior of the presidential state car.[156]

Joint signing ceremony[edit]

File:Singapore Summit- Trump-Kim Signing Ceremony.webm

The signing

Subsequently, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement, titled “Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit”, which Trump described as a “very important” and “comprehensive” agreement.[162]

The document said:[163]

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:

  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIAremains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

In addition to the numbered provisions, the joint statement also mentions Trump’s commitment to providing security guarantees to North Korea. Follow-up negotiations between Pompeo and an undetermined high-level North Korean official are also called for by the joint statement.[162]

US news conference[edit]

Trump held a news conference at 16:15 local time which lasted for more than an hour. In his news conference, Trump said that further discussions will take place with North Korean officials and that he would consider visiting Pyongyang.[164]Referring to his commitment in the Joint Statement[165] to “provide security guarantees” to North Korea, Trump announced the end of the joint military exercises with the South Korean military, which he described as “provocative”. U.S. Forces Korea and South Korea were apparently not consulted.[166] He expressed his hope that the removal of 32,000 American troops defending South Korea would become part of the equation. The next round of joint military exercises was scheduled for late August.[167][168]

End of summit[edit]

On June 12, Trump left Singapore from Paya Lebar Air Base at around 18:30 local time, earlier than his planned departure time of 19:00 while Kim Jong-un left Singapore from Changi Airport at around 22:30.[169]

Upon returning to the United States the following day, President Trump declared that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat.[170] On June 22, 2018, Trump provided a “Notice Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to North Korea,” which extended the Executive Order 13466 of 2008 by one year, reaffirming “the current existence and risk of the proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”[171][172]

Delegations in attendance[edit]

Participants in the expanded bilateral meeting[edit]

Other delegates[edit]


The summit received a generally positive international reaction with most countries expressing praise or hope for achieving a peace deal from the summit. Some commentators have expressed skepticism towards the signed agreement pointing to a history of failed past agreements and to the vague wording of the clauses of the declarations.[182] China announced the possibility of sanction relief following the summit[183] and joint-military exercises between the United States and South Korea were halted, a demand that North Korea had long made.[184] The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that sanction relief would only be granted after complete denuclearization.[185] Visitors to North Korea reported that anti-American posters, postcards, stamps and similar items were no longer sold in tourist shops.[186]


On June 9, two South Korean media personnel from South Korean broadcaster KBS News were arrested for trespassing at the home of the North Korean ambassador in Singapore.[187] KBS News subsequently issued an apology for not being cautious.[188] The two media personnel were deported the next day on June 10.[189]

On June 11, five South Korean women were arrested on Monday night for protesting outside the St. Regis Hotel where Chairman Kim and his delegation were staying. The police warned the women for violating the Public Order Act but they refused to cooperate, leading to their arrests.[190][191]


On 26 June, CNN released the press that Satellite images from June 2018 show that North Korea was making numerous improvements to the infrastructure at a nuclear research facility.[192] However, the media source 38 North described the details during an interview with CNN that only two small roof buildings had newly erected and it might be used for hospitality role for senior officials or Nuclear Inspectors. Other improved Infrastructures were already developed before the Trump-Kim Summit.[193] [194] On 30 June, NBC reported that, according to an assessment by the U.S. intelligence agencies, North Korea might have increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites after the summit, though if the process of enrichment had occurred, it must have begun before the summit.[195][196]

On 27 June, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said North Korea was planning to hand over presumed remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War(1950-53) in the near future. [197] U.S. military moved 158 metal coffins through the DMZ border between North and South Korea in preparation one week earlier. [198]