Washington and Pyongyang finally agreed on the date and location for the first-ever summit talks, with the showdown that could shape the future of the Korean Peninsula to take place on June 12 in Singapore.
“We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday after tantalizing Seoul with the option of holding a summit in the Korean truce village of Panmunjom, where an earlier summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in was held on April 27.
Trump made the announcement shortly after he greeted three American hostages that came home with U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who had flown to Pyongyang on Wednesday to fine-tune the agenda for the summit meeting.
This would be the first summit between sitting heads of the two countries whose leaders until late last year exchanged insults and fiery war talks.
The summit was arranged to come after the G-7 meeting, which will be held on June 8-9 in Canada, to allow global leaders to discuss the agenda and unite their voices in support of the Washington-led denuclearization scheme for Pyongyang.
The venue, a point of much speculation, had been narrowed down to Singapore and Panmunjom. Trump ultimately settled on Singapore, a choice reportedly favored among his advisers because of its neutral status, strict security and proven record of hosting international events. Shangri-La Hotel and Marina Bay Sands Hotel have been floated as possible summit locations in Singapore.
Neutrality was a chief concern, according to a diplomatic source, as a summit at Panmunjom could make Trump appear traveling to North Korea’s doorsteps while placing too much spotlight on Moon’s role as a mediator.
The June talks are expected to be followed by a three-way summit between the U.S. and the two Koreas in July or August.
By Lee Jin-myung and Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]