South Korean news outlets are reporting the highly-anticipated summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is likely to take place in Singapore.
U.S. officials said Singapore was high on the list of potential sites for the summit during Nigerian President Bukhari’s visit to the U.S. However, the date still remains to be established but Trump wants to hold it by late May or early June.
"We're looking at various countries, including Singapore. And we are also talking about the possibility of the DMZ Peace House/Freedom House," Trump had said.
The U.S. president had previously voiced an interest in holding the talks at the border village of Panmunjom in South Korea, which hosted last month’s inter-Korean summit, after seeing media coverage of the pageantry surrounding that event.
But it now appears that Singapore has emerged as the all-but-formally announced site, with a “mid-June” date penciled in, South Korea’s mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo daily reported Monday, citing diplomatic sources who quoted Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Similarly, the Yonhap news agency is quoting unnamed sources that the U.S. and North Korea have agreed the meeting will take place in the city-state in the third week of June, to avoid conflicts with the Group of Seven (G-7) summit to be held in Canada on June 8-9, which Trump will attend.
Singapore is seen as a neutral summit site for both sides as the city-nation is easily accessible for the North Korean leader while Trump does not have to travel all the way to the Demilitarized zone for the meeting.
The South Korean newspaper also suggested that the possibility of Singapore playing host to the talks had grown significantly after a decision by Trump to have South Korean President Moon Jae-in visit the White House on May 22. The report did not give further explanation. The South’s Yonhap news agency carried a similar report. Citing multiple diplomatic sources, it said that the odds had appeared to have shifted from Panmunjom to Singapore. “As for the summit location, the possibility of Panmunjom, originally considered to be the leading contender, has fallen,” a source knowledgeable of planning for the event said.
The White House, meanwhile, has announced a separate meeting between Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington DC on May 22 to "continue their close coordination on developments regarding the Korean Peninsula.''