White House thanks Singapore for efforts in planning Trump-Kim summit

A general view of the ArtScience Museum and the Marina Bay Financial Centre as seen from the Helix Bridge. The US paid tribute to Singapore for agreeing to host the proposed US-North Korea summit on June 12.
A general view of the ArtScience Museum and the Marina Bay Financial Centre as seen from the Helix Bridge. The US paid tribute to Singapore for agreeing to host the proposed US-North Korea summit on June 12.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Foreign media personnel, mostly from Japan, staking out a road leading to the Capella Hotel on Sentosa on Wednesday, where the American delegation has been staying. At least 2,000 media personnel are expected to cover the proposed Trump-Kim summit.
Foreign media personnel, mostly from Japan, staking out a road leading to the Capella Hotel on Sentosa on Wednesday, where the American delegation has been staying. At least 2,000 media personnel are expected to cover the proposed Trump-Kim summit.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

N. Korean and US officials meet for second straight day to discuss logistics, security ahead of proposed June 12 event

The United States paid tribute to Singapore's efforts in helping the Donald Trump administration plan for the proposed US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12. 

On Wednesday in the US, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump was "very appreciative" of the Republic's efforts. She said at a press briefing: "The advance team, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, met with the North Korean team in Singapore earlier today, and again expect to do so tomorrow.

"And we want to thank our strategic partner in Singapore, who has been incredibly generous in agreeing to host the summit. And the President is very appreciative of Prime Minister Lee (Hsien Loong) for all of their efforts."

The sentiments echoed a similar statement by US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert, who a day earlier praised Singapore for its assistance.

Ms Nauert said at a press briefing: "I just want to highlight the great work that the Government of Singapore has done and how much assistance that they have provided to the United States, especially Prime Minister Lee in particular, who has been gracious with his time, gracious with all their efforts in helping the United States to plan for this summit."

Mr Trump also tweeted yesterday morning US time: "Very good meetings with North Korea."

Apart from the Singapore meetings, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met General Kim Yong Chol, the right-hand man of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in New York on Wednesday.

The comments came as senior North Korea and US envoys held talks for the second straight day.

 
 
 

Mr Kim Chang Son, the de facto chief of staff of Mr Kim Jong Un, led the North Korean team as they continued discussions with the American delegation, headed by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa.

Yesterday's meeting lasted at least two hours. On Wednesday, the North Korean delegation spent more than four hours at the Capella.

Sources said that the meetings in Singapore are to iron out the logistical details of the historic June 12 summit such as security, meeting venues and transportation, among other matters.

Mr Kim Chang Son and Mr Hagin both arrived in Singapore on Monday. It is not known when they will leave the country.

Mr Kim is believed to be staying at The Fullerton Hotel, which sources say could also play host to Mr Kim Jong Un when he arrives. The American delegation has been staying at the Capella, where speculation is rife that Mr Trump will also be checking into, in a fortnight.

Sources told The Straits Times that the Shangri-La Hotel may be a possible venue to host the summit. However, it is also possible that if the delegations do indeed set up camp at the Fullerton and Capella, respectively, the meeting may take place at either hotel.

The prospect of the meeting has already drawn a number of foreign journalists into town. The Straits Times understands that at least 2,000 media personnel are expected to cover the Trump-Kim meeting, which, if it takes place, will be the first time that a sitting US president will meet the leader of North Korea.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2018, with the headline 'White House thanks S'pore for facilitating pre-summit talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe