Trump-Kim Singapore summit

Upbeat Trump says one-time chance will not be wasted

Armed police officers on patrol yesterday outside the Shangri-La Hotel, where Mr Trump is staying. US President Donald Trump waving at bystanders from inside his presidential limousine along Anderson Road last night. Hundreds of people lined the stre
US President Donald Trump waving at bystanders from inside his presidential limousine along Anderson Road last night. Hundreds of people lined the streets at various points of his motorcade's expected route.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Armed police officers on patrol yesterday outside the Shangri-La Hotel, where Mr Trump is staying. US President Donald Trump waving at bystanders from inside his presidential limousine along Anderson Road last night. Hundreds of people lined the stre
Mr Trump arriving at Paya Lebar Airbase on board Air Force One last night. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Armed police officers on patrol yesterday outside the Shangri-La Hotel, where Mr Trump is staying. US President Donald Trump waving at bystanders from inside his presidential limousine along Anderson Road last night. Hundreds of people lined the stre
Armed police officers on patrol yesterday outside the Shangri-La Hotel, where Mr Trump is staying. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Curious crowds turn out to catch sight of President upon his arrival

US President Donald Trump sounded an optimistic note as he arrived in Singapore last night ahead of his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tomorrow.

Asked how he was feeling about the summit shortly after he stepped off the plane, Mr Trump - who is on his first visit to Singapore as president - said simply: "Very good."

Air Force One touched down at Paya Lebar Airbase just past 8.20pm - arriving a few hours earlier than initially planned because Mr Trump abruptly left a contentious Group of Seven meeting in Canada.

Wearing a blue tie with his suit, Mr Trump waved as he walked off the custom Boeing 747.

The size of the American delegation is not immediately clear, although US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin are all expected to be involved in the summit.

First Lady Melania Trump did not travel with Mr Trump to Singapore.

En route from Canada, the President tweeted that tomorrow's meeting was a chance to achieve a "truly wonderful result for North Korea and the world".

He wrote: "It will certainly be an exciting day and I know that Kim Jong Un will work very hard to do something that has rarely been done before. Create peace and great prosperity for his land.

"I look forward to meeting him and have a feeling that this one-time opportunity will not be wasted!"

He was greeted in Singapore by a receiving party that included Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong and Singapore's Ambassador to the US Ashok Mirpuri.

After a few handshakes, Mr Trump got into his waiting presidential limousine, and the motorcade of at least 30 vehicles sped off to the Shangri-La Hotel.

The US President's travelling motorcade is a well-documented spectacle around the world and it was no different here yesterday.

The long line of vehicles included "The Beast", a nine-tonne bulletproof and bombproof car that is able to withstand a chemical attack, and dozens of police vehicles as well as an ambulance.

And with the President's schedule widely known ahead of time, hundreds of people - from journalists to Americans to curious onlookers - lined the streets at various points of the motorcade's expected route.

There were also groups of the President's supporters, many wearing the red "Make America Great Again" caps that have become one of the most recognisable symbols of Mr Trump during his 2016 election campaign.

As The Beast pulled up to the Shangri-La Hotel last night, sections of the gathered crowd could be heard cheering, with others chanting "USA! USA!"

Earlier, a group of American students burst into a rendition of the American national anthem while waiting for the motorcade to pass.

One student, Erica Boland, 17, said: "I'm so proud of what Singapore was able to facilitate and this is such a monumental moment in history, so we couldn't miss this."

Among the Singaporeans staking out the route was property agent Joe Tham, 48, who said he was just an avid photographer out to get some pictures.

"This is a rare chance, so I just wanted to come down and try to take photographs," he told The Straits Times.

But, as a journalist with the White House press corp travelling with Mr Trump noted in a report, not everyone was thrilled by the spectacle.

He wrote: "Traffic was snarled on the other side of the road by the closures. Drivers looked across with what appeared to be interest and irritation depending on the vehicle."

Preparations had been taking place all week in anticipation of the arrival of both Mr Trump and Mr Kim yesterday, and the size of the logistics task was evident during Mr Trump's short trip from Paya Lebar to Tanglin.

A massive US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane - one that typically carries the presidential limo - had also been spotted in Singapore.

Mr Trump is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong just after noon today, followed by an expanded bilateral meeting and working lunch.

  •  Additional reporting by Jan Lee and Adrian Lim
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2018, with the headline 'Upbeat Trump says one-time chance will not be wasted'. Print Edition | Subscribe