US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are meeting in Singapore to discuss a peace treaty and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It’s the first ever such summit between the heads of the two countries.
Trump and Kim are scheduled to start their meeting at around 9:00 am local time, and they will spend the next hour talking directly, accompanied only by their translators, before they allow their advisers and staff to join the meeting.
The summit is a product of months of diplomacy, going back to the meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the end of March. CIA chief Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, secretly met with Kim shortly afterward, setting in motion the sometimes tense negotiations that led to Monday’s meeting at the very highest level.
After he took office in January 2017, Trump took a hard line against North Korea, rolling out a campaign of severe UN sanctions and trade blockades dubbed “maximum pressure” to get Pyongyang to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. By September, the two leaders were calling each other names, with Trump dubbing Kim “Little Rocket Man” and Kim responding by calling Trump a “dotard.”
The US and North Korea are still technically at war, and have been since 1953, when an armistice paused the three-year conflict that had devastated the Korean Peninsula and at one point saw US and Chinese troops openly fighting each other.