President Trump announced Thursday that he will hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore.
“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
It will be the first face-to-face meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a leader of communist North Korea.
Under a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign led by the Trump administration, Mr. Kim agreed to talks about giving up his nuclear weapons.
However, the negotiations are expected to be tense and difficult. Mr. Trump has said that he is prepared to “walk away” from the table if the talks are not fruitful.
North Korea has increasingly threatened the U.S. and the world with its development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. The regime recently tested intercontinental ballistic missiles believed to be capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
The announcement of the date and place for the talks came hours after three U.S. citizens imprisoned in North Korea arrived back in America.
They were greeted by Mr. Trump at an early morning arrival at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
He said the three men, who had been sent to North Korea’s horrific labor camps after being accused of hostile acts and espionage, were released as a gesture of goodwill.
“This is a special night for these three really great people,” said the president. “The true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”
Mr. Trump said several days earlier that a time and place for the meeting had been set. But the details were not made public until after the return of the three U.S. citizens: businessman Kim Dong-chul and Pyongyang University workers Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim.
North Korea’s state-owned news service on Thursday gave its people the first official account of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Pyongyang that led to the release of three Americans held by the regime.
Mr. Pompeo delivered what the KCNA news agency called a “verbal message” from Mr. Trump to Mr. Kim that showed the U.S. president “has shown a deep interest in settling the [nuclear] issue through dialogue.”
While Mr. Trump has said the goal of the talks is the complete and “irreversible” elimination of the North’s nuclear and missile programs, Mr. Kim reportedly described the upcoming summit as “an excellent first step toward promotion of the positive developments on the Korean peninsula and [the] building of a good future.”