North Korea postpones plan to mark Trump-Kim summit

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa last year. A memorial plaque was to be unveiled today at the hotel, but the North Korean embassy has postponed the event.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa last year. A memorial plaque was to be unveiled today at the hotel, but the North Korean embassy has postponed the event.ST FILE PHOTO

A plan by the North Korean embassy here to today commemorate the landmark summit last year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump was postponed last night.

An earlier invitation sent out to guests had said that a memorial plaque was to be unveiled today at the Capella Hotel, the venue of the inaugural Trump-Kim summit on June 12 last year.

The unveiling and cocktail reception was to be held at the Sentosa hotel from 11am to 2pm and hosted by North Korean Ambassador Kim Chol Nam, according to the invite.

In an e-mail sent last night, the North Korean embassy said the event will be postponed "due to unforeseen reasons".

The plaque was to be unveiled at the spot where Mr Trump and Mr Kim first shook hands in the courtyard of the Capella Hotel.

It is now a popular spot for guests to pose for photos.

It was the first time a sitting US president had met a North Korean leader. Mr Trump and Mr Kim had a one-on-one meeting, followed by an extended bilateral summit. They then signed a four-point agreement to build new ties, establish a peace regime on the Korean peninsula, work towards complete denuclearisation and return war remains.

 
 
 

The two leaders met at a second summit in Hanoi in February. It ended without any deal or agreement after talks broke down.

Responding to queries about the Singapore summit, US Embassy Singapore spokesman Camille Dawson said the United States does not have plans to commemorate the summit, and would not be joining the event at the Capella, which has since been postponed.

She said the US is committed to a diplomatic process to "eliminate the threat to international peace and security posed by" North Korea's ballistic missile programmes.

"Our goal is to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearisation of the DPRK, as committed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore," she added, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

Ms Dawson noted that Mr Trump and Mr Kim had committed to transforming US-North Korea relations, building lasting peace and complete denuclearisation.

"We remain hopeful that the goals set out by President Trump and Chairman Kim at their summit in Singapore will be fulfilled."

There were expectations that the leaders' second meeting in February at Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi would result in a more substantial and tangible agreement, including a road map to denuclearisation by North Korea, some sanctions relief by the US and a declaration of the end of the Korean War.

But talks collapsed. Mr Trump later said North Korea "wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn't do that".

He also said Pyongyang was willing to denuclearise, "but in areas lesser than what we want".

In April, Mr Kim said he would be prepared to meet Mr Trump for a third summit, but only if the US fundamentally changes its approach.

The US leader left the door open to another summit then.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2019, with the headline 'North Korea postpones plan to mark Trump-Kim summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe