TEMPO.CO, Singapore - U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday for a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that could lay the groundwork for ending a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and the transformation of the isolated Asian nation.
Trump flew into Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base aboard Air Force One, looking to strike a deal that will lead to the denuclearisation of one of America’s bitterest foes. He came from a divisive G7 meeting in Canada with some of Washington’s closest allies that further strained global trade ties.
After stepping down from Air Force One on a steamy tropical night, Trump was greeted by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Trump said: “Very good”.
North Korea’s Kim landed in Singapore earlier on Sunday.
When Trump and Kim meet on Tuesday at Sentosa, a resort island off Singapore’s port with a Universal Studios theme park and man-made beaches, they will be making history.
Enemies since the 1950-53 Korean War, leaders of North Korea and the United States have never met previously - or even spoken on the telephone.
Kim arrived at Singapore’s Changi Airport after his longest trip overseas as head of state, wearing his trademark dark “Mao suit” and distinctive high-cut hairstyle. He has not left his country since taking office in 2011 other than to visit China and the South Korean side of the border Demilitarised Zone.
Arriving on a plane loaned by China, which for decades has been North Korea’s only major ally, Kim was also greeted by Balakrishnan.
Travelling with him were top officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of Kim who has been instrumental in the diplomacy that culminated in Tuesday’s summit.
Kim Yo Jong, leader Kim’s younger sister, was also spotted in his delegation. She emerged as an influential figure in Pyongyang’s opaque leadership in February, when she led a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Officials who arrived with Trump include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Bolton’s hardline rhetoric last month infuriated North Korea and nearly derailed the summit. He called for North Korea to follow a “Libya model” in negotiations. Libya unilaterally surrendered its nuclear weapons programme in 2003, but its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was killed in 2011 by NATO-backed rebels.