President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Chairman Kim Jong-un, have met for the first time in Singapore in what can be considered as a historic summit between both countries.
Both leaders emerged from opposite directions of the foyer to the courtyard of The Capella Hotel in Sentosa Island and shook hands in the full glare of the press at 09:00 am local time (02:00 am Nigerian time).
The two men walked towards each other and firmly gripped each other’s hands in front of US and North Korean flags.
This was the first time that a sitting US President has met a North Korean leader, especially after the latter became isolated as a result of the 1950-1953 Korean war.
Speaking shortly to reporters after their historic handshake, President Trump said, “I feel really great. We’re going to have a great discussion and will be tremendously successful.”
The US president also predicted a “terrific relationship” with Chairman Kim.
On his own part, Chairman Kim said both leaders had overcome prejudices between both countries to reach this point of discussions.
The two men then proceeded for a one-on-one meeting together, in which their retinue of aides were not present but only their interpreters.
Both men had spoken for 38 minutes, according to the White House.
After their private meeting, both men had a working launch with their aides. It is expected that both leaders and their aides discussed several issues, key among them being the issue of denuclearisation which has been a bone of contention between both countries.
After both leaders emerged from their working lunch, President Trump told reporters in The Capella hotel garden that the meeting was “fantastic” and “positive.”
“It’s going great we had a really fantastic meeting a lot of progress, really very positive I think better than anybody could have expected top of the line really good”, he said.
He also indicated that both leaders were “going right now for a signing”, although he did not specify the agreements to be signed.
This summit is happening after months of insults between both leaders, as well as diplomatic twists and turns. Chairman Kim had requested for the summit with President Trump in early 2018 and the US President duly assented to and shocked the world.
But the summit was put off by President Trump after terse rhetorics were exchanged back and forth between the NorthKorea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, the US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, and the US Vice President, Mike Pence.
However, in an unprecedented turn of events, both countries through their diplomats engaged in shuttle diplomacy to ensure that the summit was brought back on track.
After Kim Young-Chol, the former top spy for North Korea and Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, presented a letter on behalf of Chairman Kim Jong to Trump on June 1, the US President then announced that the summit was back on and will hold at the scheduled date and venue.