President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will meet on Tuesday in Singapore for the first face-to-face summit between a sitting U.S. president and the head of North Korea.
Trump has made it known that since taking office in 2017, he has wanted North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons and has suggested that if that happens, the U.S. would ease economic sanctions on the country.
Despite a year of name-calling and threats, the two leaders are set to meet Tuesday at a resort on an island off the coast of Singapore.
The meeting, which was first announced in May, was canceled after Kim criticized the U.S. a couple of weeks later. Trump officially called off the talks soon after that with a signed letter, only to say the summit was back on a week later.
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Why have a summit now?
In the past 20 years, the United States, along with the United Nations and other countries, have sought to stem North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons by imposing economic sanctions for violation of international law concerning nuclear arms development.
Since coming to power, Kim has continued to develop and test those weapons. Many believe North Korea has now developed a missile and the means to directly deliver that missile to the U.S. mainland.
The United States has become more concerned with North Korea’s nuclear program and is now demanding Kim dismantle his nuclear arsenal. The summit is a means for the U.S. to deal face-to-face with Kim over his nuclear weapons program.
The U.N. and U.S. sanctions, along with the incredible expenditure on nuclear weapons development, have crippled North Korea’s economy and left its people among the world’s poorest.
Sanctions by the United Nations, the United States and other nations target 90 percent of Pyongyang’s publicly reported export products. The country’s per capita gross national income is $1,342.
For those reasons, Kim seems anxious to come to the summit, as well.
When is the summit?
The meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. local time Tuesday, or 9 p.m. ET Monday. Singapore is 12 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in the United States.
Trump and Kim will start the summit with a one-on-one session with only their translators, according to the White House. The president will leave at 8 p.m. local time to return to the United States.
Where is it being held?
The meeting will take place on Sentosa, an island off the coast of Singapore. The island, a tourists destination, was originally named Pulau Blakang Mati. It was renamed Sentosa following a contest sponsored by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Sentosa means “peace and tranquility.” Pulau Blakang Mati means “island of death behind.”
The island, which was once a Japanese prisoner of war camp, now hosts a number of hotels, golf courses, a light rail system, a mile-long sheltered beach, a casino and a resort that features a Universal Studios Singapore theme park. The tourists' destination sees more than 20 million visitors a year.
Who are the main players at the summit?
These men will be meeting face-to-face to discuss nuclear disarmament:
U.S. President Donald Trump
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton
Gen. Kim Yong-chol, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea for South Korean affairs and North Korea’s top nuclear weapons negotiator
Who else will be there?
Dennis Rodman, NBA Hall of Famer and a longtime friend of Kim, is in Singapore. Trump said last week that while he was a “nice guy,” Rodman was not officially invited to attend the summit.
What does the United States want?
What the United States wants is “complete, permanent and verifiable denuclearization.” While Trump has said he wants the weapons gone as soon as possible, that process could take many years. It is estimated that North Korea has enough nuclear material to produce anywhere from 20 to 30 nuclear weapons.
What does Korea want?
Kim wants relief from economic sanctions placed on his country by the United States, and according to Pompeo, he has expressed a willingness to get rid of his nuclear weapons in order to have those sanctions rolled back. In addition, Kim wants the eventual removal of U.S. troops from South Korea. There are roughly 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea.
What can be achieved?
That’s yet to be seen. Trump has said he sees the summit as a first step in the process of denuclearization and the lifting of sanctions.
"I never said it goes in one meeting. I think it's going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that's a very positive thing,” Trump said.
Kim has also talked about a formal end to the Korean War being part of the ongoing talks. The Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, did not end in a peace treaty; rather, it ended on July 27, 1953, in an armistice, or an agreement to stop military action. The war has never officially ended.
How can I watch it?