2018 Trump-Kim Summit



On 12 June 2018, Singapore hosted a historic meeting between the United States President Donald Trump and leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Chairman Kim Jong Un. Both leaders discussed denuclearisation and how to ease military tensions. This was the first meeting held between a sitting American president and a North Korean leader since the Korean Peninsula was split into two regions as a result of the Cold War.1

Background
The end of World War II in 1945 liberated the Korean Peninsula from 36 years of Japanese colonial rule. However, in late 1945, the peninsula was split into half at the 38th parallel by occupying allied troops from the Soviet Union and the United States.

Against the background of a rising global Cold War, the division of Korea led to the formation of rival states in 1948, with the Republic of Korea supported by the United States, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea backed by Soviet forces. Rising tensions between both competing factions culminated in a war that lasted for three years from 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953.

Since the end of the Korean War, which concluded with a truce instead of a peace treaty, North and South Korea have been separated by a 4 km-wide demilitarised zone and tensions remain volatile between both Koreas.2

The invitation to meet

After Chairman Kim Jong Un had a meeting with a South Korean delegation led by National Security Adviser Chung Eui Yong in Pyongyang from 5 to 6 March 2018, North Korea expressed its willingness to hold talks with the United States to ease military tensions and discuss denuclearisation. Chung later conveyed Kim’s invitation for a meeting to U.S. President Donald Trump on 8 March 2018. Trump readily accepted the invitation.3

Possible summit hosts
Sweden, Switzerland, Indonesia and Thailand offered to host the summit.4 The European nations were, however, ruled out due to their distance from Pyongyang.

Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, was considered favourable as it had been playing an active role in international diplomacy, has diplomatic ties with both the U.S. and North Korea and is accessible from North Korea via train.5 Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone on the North-South border in the Korean Peninsula was another possible venue as it had hosted the inter-Korea summit in April 2018.6

Analysts opined that Singapore stood a high chance of being selected as the summit venue, as Singapore is well-known for its robust security, neutrality, efficiency and high degree of public order. The U.S. and North Korea both also have embassies located on its shores. Singapore’s good track record in hosting high-level international events was also another consideration.7

Confirmation of host
Singapore was first approached by the U.S., then by North Korea, to host the historic summit as both had confidence in Singapore’s ability to ensure the security of the event and to be a neutral moderator.

On 10 May 2018, President Trump announced via Twitter that the United States-North Korean summit would be held in Singapore on 12 June 2018. On 11 May, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the White House confirmed Trump’s announcement.8

Cancellation and reinstatement
In mid-and-late May 2018, the summit was almost called off. On 16 May, Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s first vice-foreign minister, said the summit might be cancelled if Pyongyang were pushed towards “unilateral nuclear abandonment”.

On 24 May, North Korea again stated the possibility of a cancellation, as U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence’s comments about North Korea and “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation” were deemed “impudent” in a press statement issued by Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice-minister of Foreign Affairs.9 This triggered a swift response from President Trump. In late May 2018, Trump called off the summit.10

In an attempt to revive the summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arranged an impromptu meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In on 26 May. Subsequently, Trump agreed to reinstate the 12 June summit in Singapore.11

Working level talks between U.S. and North Korean officials, including those held on 27 May, 30 May, 2 June, 3 June and 4 June 2018 in the truce village of Panmunjom, were held to discuss the agenda for the summit. General Kim Yong Chol, Kim Jong Un’s right hand man, also met Trump for a pre-summit dialogue at the White House on 1 June.12 In addition, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan visited Pyongyang from 7 to 8 June to discuss security and protocol arrangements for the summit.13

Singapore prepares to host
Launch of commemorative items
In the run-up to the summit, Singapore Mint launched gold, silver and base-metal coins to commemorate the event. These coins were made available for sale globally, with a limited number reserved for Singapore. The design of each coin featured a handshake between President Trump and Chairman Kim, the scheduled summit date, the words “Summit in Singapore”, flags and national flowers of both the U.S. and North Korea as well as a dove to signify world peace.14

Manpower and logistics

Large-scale preparations in Singapore began about three weeks before the summit. About 7,400 public officers from inter-ministerial agencies, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Defence, Communications and Information, and Transport, were involved.15 It was also announced that the F1 Pit building was to be the designated official media centre for the summit.16

Security measures
Under the Public Order Act, the Singapore government gazetted certain areas as “special event areas” from 10 to 14 June 2018: the Tanglin area surrounding Shangri-La Hotel, The St. Regis Singapore, the island of Sentosa as well as the waters off its south-west beaches.

“Special event areas” were subjected to strict security checks and restrictions on activities. “Special zones” were marked out within these “special event areas” and were subjected to even stricter security checks. The Capella Hotel located on Sentosa, for example, was declared a “special zone” as it had been chosen as the venue for the summit.17 Selected locations were also swept for chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threats.18


Additionally, the airspace over Singapore was temporarily restricted during some parts of 11, 12 and 13 June. Flights entering Changi Airport had to reduce their speed, and had restricted use of the runway.19

However, the government exempted four bulletproof and bombproof black BMW 760Li sedans from a list of traffic regulations until 30 June. These were used to ferry non-citizen participants of the summit.20

Security breaches
Two security breaches occurred in Singapore before President Trump’s and Chairman Kim’s meeting on 12 June.

On 7 June 2018, two South Korean reporters from the Korean Broadcasting Station (KBS) were arrested for trespassing in the North Korean ambassador’s home and were later deported. In a separate incident on 11 June 2018, five South Korean women were arrested under the Public Order Act at the junction of Tanglin Road and Nassim Road near the St. Regis hotel where Kim and the North Korean delegates were staying. Earlier that day, the women had carried banners near the Capella Singapore hotel at Sentosa. They were also spotted carrying protest placards near the Shangri-La Hotel where the American delegates were staying. The women’s visit passes were cancelled, and the women were repatriated to South Korea.21

Key events on 10 June 2018
The North Korean delegation arrived in Singapore in the afternoon of 10 June, and the American delegation arrived in the evening on the same day.


The North Korean delegation

Chairman Kim’s Air China Boeing 747 plane touched down at Changi Airport at 2.35 pm on 10 June 2018. Kim was welcomed by Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. The 35-vehicle North Korean convoy, which included local police escort motorcycles, then left the airport for the St. Regis hotel in Orchard Road, where Chairman Kim and his delegation were staying.22


Chairman Kim’s delegation included Kim Yong Chol (Vice-chairman, Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea); Ri Su Yong (Vice-Chairman, Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea); Ri Yong Ho (Minister of Foreign Affairs); No Kwang Chol (Minister of People’s Armed Forces); Choe Son Hui (Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs); Kim Yo Jong (First Deputy Director, Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea); and Han Kwang Sang (Director, Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea).23

In the evening of 10 June, Chairman Kim met Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana. They discussed relations between both countries, as well as developments in North Korea and the region.24


The U.S. delegation

At around 8.20 pm on 10 June, Air Force One, the official airplane of the President of the United States, landed at Paya Lebar Air Base. President Trump was met by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Subsequently, Trump’s presidential motorcade departed for Shangri-La Hotel where he was staying for the duration of the summit.25

President Trump’s delegation included Mike Pompeo (U.S. Secretary of State); General John Kelly (Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff); Ambassador John Bolton (Assistant to the President and National Security Adviser); Sarah Sanders (Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary); Ambassador Sung Kim (U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines); Matthew Pottinger (Deputy Assistant to the President for Asian Affairs North Korea delegation) 26; Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath (Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore); Stephen Miller (Senior Advisor to the President for Policy); Mira Ricardel (Deputy National Security Advisor); Sarah Tinsley (NSC Senior Director for Strategic Communications); Peter Michael McKinley (U.S. Ambassador to Brazil); and Melissa Brown (Counsellor for Economic and Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore).

Key events on 11 June 2018
On 11 June, President Trump and his delegation met Prime Minister Lee for a working lunch.27 In the evening, Chairman Kim, accompanied by his sister (Kim Yo Jong) and other North Korean officials, went on a night tour of Singapore. They were guided by Singapore officials, and it was reported that Chairman Kim learnt about the social and economic development of Singapore.28 Retired National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman also arrived in Singapore on 11 June in a show of support for Chairman Kim, with whom he had struck up a friendship.29

Trump and Kim meet on 12 June 2018
On the day of the meeting, roads and expressways leading from the St. Regis and Shangri-La hotels were closed as the American and North Korean leaders, and their delegations, were driven to the summit venue at Capella Hotel on Sentosa. Roadblocks were established along one side of the Capella, while coast guard vessels patrolled the waters off the resort’s beach.30

President Trump and Chairman Kim met in the courtyard at the Capella shortly after 9 am. They exchanged handshakes, which lasted 12 seconds. Both leaders then proceeded to the hotel library for a 45-minute one-on-one meeting with only their translators present.


After both leaders emerged from the meeting, an extended bilateral meeting took place at the hotel’s Cassia restaurant, which had been converted into a meeting space. The American and North Korean delegates sat on opposite sides of a nearly 80-year-old 4.3-metre long teak table that had been used by the chief justices of Singapore in the Supreme Court. The National Gallery Singapore had loaned this table to the U.S. Embassy for use during the summit.31

At 11.30 am, both leaders were served a nine-course East-West fusion menu for lunch.32 Over 2,500 journalists who had come to Singapore to cover the summit were treated to a different lunch menu.33

The joint declaration
After lunch, President Trump and Chairman Kim signed a joint declaration in which both leaders agreed “to establish new US-DPRK relations” and to “join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula”.

It was reported that Trump committed to providing security guarantees to North Korea. He also agreed to halt longstanding joint military exercises with South Korea for the duration of on-going U.S.-North Korea denuclearisation negotiations. Additionally, Trump affirmed that sanctions against North Korea would remain until complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation was achieved. Reports mentioned that Kim “affirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”,34 and that he had agreed to return the remains of 6,000 American prisoners-of-war or soldiers who had gone missing during the Korean War.35


The lack of details, however, led some to question how meaningful the declaration was. Although both leaders agreed to “work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, it was highlighted that their declaration did not specify "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation”. Critics also pointed out that no concrete targets had been set.36

The summit concludes
After both leaders signed the declaration, an hour-long press conference was held.37 With the summit brought to a close, President Trump and Chairman Kim left Singapore for their respective home countries on 12 June 2018.38

Expenses
It cost Singapore an estimated $16.3 million to host the summit. The bulk of the cost came from security for thorough land, air and sea protection.39

Second summit in Vietnam (2019)
Following the first Trump-Kim summit, it was reported that official talks on denuclearisation did not make much progress. In a bid for diplomacy, President Trump and Chairman Kim met for a second summit in 2019, this time in Vietnam.40



Author
Sharon Teng



References
1. Toh, E. (2018, June 3). Trump-Kim summit in Singapore: Intricacies of hosting a high-level event. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

2. Sim, W. (2018, April 28). Hugs, laughter, banter mark historic Moon-Kim talks. The Straits Times; Sim, W. & Chang, M. C. (2018, April 28). Korean leaders pledge peace. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Seth, M. J. (Ed.) (2016). Routledge handbook of modern Korean history. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 171-192. (Call no.: R 951.9 ROU)
3.  North Korea leader Kim Jong Un wants to advance Korea ties, makes agreement with South: KCNA. (2018, March 6). Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/north-korea-leader-kim-jong-un-wants-to-advance-north-south-relations-kcna; Chang, M. C. (2018, March 7). North Korea willing to denuclearise and resume talks with US. The Straits Times; Ghosh, N. (2018, March 11). Trump hails progress as he accepts Kim’s offer of talks. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
4. Nirmal, G. & Chang, M. C. (2018, May 3). How does Singapore score against other possible Trump-Kim summit venues? The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

5. Chang, M. (2018, May 5). Singapore is ‘strongest’ candidate to host Trump-Kim summit in mid-June: South Korea daily. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
6. Nirmal, G. & Chang, M. C. (2018, May 3). How does Singapore score against other possible Trump-Kim summit venues? The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
7. Chang, M. (2018, May 5). Singapore is ‘strongest’ candidate to host Trump-Kim summit in mid-June: South Korea daily. The Straits Times; Tan, D. W. (2018). Singapore has what it takes to host Trump-Kim summit: Observers. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva. via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
8. Trump-Kim summit in Singapore a significant step on the path to peace: PM. (2018, May 12). The Business Times; Ghosh, N. (2018, May 12). Singapore chosen for neutrality, security, says US. The Straits Times; Kaur, K. (2018, May 10). Singapore confirmed as host of historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un on June 12. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
9. Full statement by North Korea’s vice foreign minister and nuclear negotiator Choe Son Hui. (2018, May 24). The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

10. Ghosh, N. & Goh, S. N. (2018, May 24). Trump cancels Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing ‘open hostility’. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

11. Tham, Y., Seow, B. Y. & Ng, J. S. (2018, June 17). Trump-Kim Singapore summit; Trump-Kim summit: The making of a last-minute meeting in Singapore. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
12. US, North Korea hold fifth round of talks in Panmunjom to prepare for Trump-Kim summit. (2018, June 4). The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
13. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flies to Pyongyang as part of preparations for Trump-Kim summit. (2018, June 7). The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
14. Trump-Kim summit; Singapore Mint unveils 3 commemorative coins to mark historic summit. (2018, June 6). The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
15. Tham, Y., Seow, B. Y. & Ng, J. S. (2018, June 17). Trump-Kim Singapore summit; Trump-Kim summit: The making of a last-minute meeting in Singapore. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
16. Tay, T. F. (2018, June 5). Trump-Kim Summit: Journalists to work from F1 Pit Building’s media centre. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

17. Tan, T. M. & Tay, T. F. (2018). Trump-Kim Singapore summit; Special zone within event area to have stricter security checks. The Straits Times; Tan, T. M. (2018, June 6). Trump-Kim Singapore Summit; Sentosa Island declared ‘special event area’ as well. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
18. Tham, Y., Seow, B. Y. & Ng, J. S. (2018, June 17). Trump-Kim Singapore summit; Trump-Kim summit: The making of a last-minute meeting in Singapore. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
19. Restriction on flights into Singapore during Trump-Kim summit: ICAO. (2018, June 6). The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019, April 24 from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/restrictions-on-flights-into-singapore-during-us-north-korea-summit-icao
20. Tan, T. M. (2018, June 6). Trump-Kim Singapore Summit; Sentosa Island declared ‘special event area’ as well. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
21. South Korea’s KBS apologises after 2 reporters arrested in Singapore ahead of Trump-Kim summit. (2018, June 9). The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Rahimah, R. (2018, June 15). 5 South Korean women deported for causing trouble in Orchard Rd. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/5-s-korean-women-deported-for-causing-trouble-in-orchard-rd
22. Kaur, K. & Seow, B. Y. (2018, June 10). Trump-Kim summit: North Korea leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Singapore. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
23. Au-Yong, R. & Ho, O. (2018, June 12). From beef confit to soya-braised codfish, what’s on the lunch menu at the Trump-Kim summit. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
24. Nur Asyiqin, M. S. (2018, June 10). North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead: North of Trump-Kim summit. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/north-korean-leader-kim-jong-un-meets-prime-minister-lee-hsien-loong-ahead-of-trump-kim 
25. Au Yong, J. (2018, June 10). Trump-Kim summit: Trumps Air Force One lands at Paya Lebar Airbase. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
26. Au-Yong, R. & Ho, O. (2018, June 12). From beef confit to soya-braised codfish, what’s on the lunch menu at the Trump-Kim summit. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

27. Tan, D. W. (2018, June 11). Trump meets PM Lee at Istana ahead of Trump-Kim summit. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
28. Kim Jong Un learnt about Singapore’s development during night tour: North Korean media. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
29. Liew, I. (2018, June 12). Trump-Kim summit: Dennis Rodman says Donald Trump has done ‘a great job’. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
30. Au Yong, J. & Tan, D. W. (2018, June 12). Trump-Kim summit: Leaders sign ‘comprehensive’ document; Kim says world will see major change. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

31. Trump-Kim summit: An up-close look from inside Capella. (2018, June 12). The Straits Times; Au Yong, J. & Tan, D. W. (2018, June 12). Trump-Kim Singapore summit: Two leaders share historic handshake. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
32. Au-Yong, R. & Ho, O. (2018, June 12). From beef confit to soya-braised codfish, what’s on the lunch menu at the Trump-Kim summit. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

33. Tay, T. F. (2018, June 12). Trump-Kim summit: Journalists pack media centre to cover historic meeting; Kaur, K. (2018, June 9). Trump-Kim summit: Laksa and chicken rice on the menu for journalists, who can choose from 45 dishes from 15 cuisines. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
34. Pathak, R. (2018, June 13). Trump-Kim summit: First step to long road to peace. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/first-step-on-long-road-to-peace
35. Yong, C. (2018, June 12). Trump-Kim summit shows clear desire of the US and North Korea to end Korean War, say analysts. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
36. Despite summit, North Korea still a nuclear threat, says Trump. (2018, June 23). The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/first-step-on-long-road-to-peace; Pathak, R. (2018, June 13). Trump-Kim summit: First step on long road to peace. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/first-step-on-long-road-to-peace
37. Ghosh, N. (2018, June 12). Singapore summit yielded little substance but is a beginning, say US analysts. The Straits Times; Au Yong, J., & Tan, D.W. (2018, June 12). Trump-Kim summit: Kim Jong Un gave unwavering commitment to denuclearisation, says Trump. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
38. Pathak, R. (2018, June 13). Trump-Kim summit: First step on long road to peace. The Straits Times. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/first-step-on-long-road-to-peace
39. Ng, H. (2018, June 24). About $16.3m spent on Trump-Kim summit, down from earlier estimate of $20m: MFA. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
40. Ghosh, N. (2019, February 6). Second Trump-Kim Summit set for Vietnam on Feb 27, 28. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/



Further resources
Donald Trump discloses that Hollywood-style video was shown to Kim Jong Un during summit. (2018, June 12). The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

Koh, T. (2018, June 16). By invitation; Trump-Kim summit in S’pore: From brink of war to peace. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/



The information in this article is valid as at May 2019 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
United States--Foreign relations--Korea (North)--Congresses
Korea (North)--Foreign relations--United States--Congresses
Political events
Summit meetings--Singapore
Politics and Government