SINGAPORE - The two leaders who will sit down for the world's most keenly watched political meeting this year have arrived in Singapore, setting in motion a series of events that could have lasting global ramifications.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump touched down in Singapore on Sunday (June 10) within hours of each other, with Mr Kim arriving on an Air China Boeing 747 at Changi Airport at 2.35pm and Mr Trump on Air Force One at about 8.25pm at Paya Lebar Airbase.
They will meet at 9am in Sentosa on Tuesday (June 12) for a summit that could impact the security of not only the Korean peninsula, but also the rest of the region and world. The two leaders are expected to address the complete denuclearisation of the peninsula and possibly declare an end to the nearly seven-decade-long Korean War.
North Korea's state media said on Monday (June 11) that the two leaders will discuss a "permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism" on the Korean peninsula, denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern.
More than 2,500 international media personnel have descended upon Singapore, with images and footage of first Mr Kim's arrival, and then Mr Trump's, beamed live across the world.
"From our point of view, it's important that the meeting takes place, and that the meeting sets developments on a new trajectory - one that will be conducive to the security and stability of the region," Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said after a visit to the media centre at the F1 Pit Building.
Mr Lee also met Mr Kim at the Istana on Sunday evening, with Mr Kim - officially Chairman of the State Affairs Commission - expressing gratitude for Singapore's efforts to host the meeting. If the summit is successful, it would put Singapore in the history books, he added.
The Trump-Kim Singapore summit will cost the hosts about $20 million, with about half going towards security costs.
The protection accorded to both leaders was evident yesterday as traffic was stopped on roads as well as expressways to allow for uninterrupted passage of their convoys.
The sight of two black limousines, with the respective flags of North Korea and the United States fluttering, amid a convoy of over 30 vehicles drew eager onlookers from the eastern part of the island to the central.
Mr Trump is scheduled to meet Mr Lee on Monday (June 11) before Tuesday's meeting with Mr Kim. US and North Korean officials will also hold last-minute talks in Singapore on Monday, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said.
Should the summit go well, it will be in stark contrast to the G-7 summit, where Mr Trump pulled the US out of a previously agreed communique after he had boarded the flight to Singapore, citing "false statements" by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In Singapore, the excitement was palpable. Hundreds whipped out camera phones to capture Mr Kim's entourage as it made its way from the St Regis Singapore, where he is staying, to the Istana.
The Tanglin area, where both the St Regis and the Shangri-La Hotel, which will host Mr Trump, are located, was packed with onlookers.
Among those who caught a glimpse of Mr Trump's motorcade was Mr Teo Hong Mong, 78, a retired aircraft engineer. He said: "I wanted to see his big, fantastic limousine. This is very good publicity and exposure for Singapore."