by Graham Pierrepoint
Who would have thought this could happen? In the space of a year, it seems that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump have taken it upon themselves to bury the hatchet in their war of words, as a date for their first face-to-face summit appears to have been confirmed. Kim has made a number of diplomatic moves in recent times – having agreed to end the war with South Korea and to send home three US detainees – and it appears that his agreement to meet with Trump, his one-time verbal adversary only a year ago, is the latest in his apparent tour of diplomacy.
It was Trump who broke the news that the leaders would be meeting for the first time, with a date set in Singapore for June 12th. This effectively gives the leaders around a month to prepare for a summit which is set to be one of the most eagerly-watched and perhaps most politically important in quite some time. The idea of a meeting between the two figureheads has been floating around for some time – and it’s the US President, characteristically and enthusiastically via Twitter, who made the announcement. “The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong-un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”, he tweeted.
▶ Trump on NK: “We’re gonna make a great deal”
Trump has only recently overseen the return of three US citizens who had been detained in North Korea – having worked with recent secretary of state Mike Pompeo to secure a release strategy. Kim, meanwhile, has remained especially positive about the forthcoming meeting. Official media within North Korea has advised that Kim expects the encounter to be an ‘historic’ meeting – and that such a summit will be an ‘excellent first step toward promotion of the positive situation development in the Korean peninsula and building a good future.”
▶ Donald Trump, Kim Jong-Un Scheduled To Meet June 12
While the meeting between Trump and Kim will be one that will gain media attention for plenty of reasons, Pompeo has advised that the summit will aim to push forward plans for the ‘permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’ weapons of mass destruction programme’. Quite how Pyongyang will see this remains to be seen – but it’s clear that this is the main issue that Trump and co will be putting on the table. How will it all turn out? See you in a month!