Kim meets Singapore PM before summit with Trump

By Yang Sheng in Singapore and Zhao Yusha in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/10 23:08:43

Singapore on full alert, places checkpoints along roads ahead of summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) is welcomed by Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his visit to The Istana, the official residence of the prime minister, following Kim's arrival in Singapore on Sunday. Kim and US President Donald Trump will meet on Tuesday for an unprecedented summit. Photo: AFP

China has played an important role in setting stage for the Trump-Kim summit, and if successful, the Korean Peninsula may witness a significant change, Chinese observers said before the historic summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Sunday ahead of a summit with US President Donald Trump, Reuters reported.

Kim met Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the city-state later on Sunday. The two leaders discussed relations between their countries, developments in North Korea and the region, including recent positive developments on the Korean peninsula, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Kim thanked Lee for hosting the summit. He said, "The entire world is focusing on the historic summit... and thanks to your sincere efforts... we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit, and I would like to thank you for that," Singaporean newspaper the Strait Times reported on Sunday.

Based on images the Singaporean government released, Kim arrived on an Air China plane. Accompanying him was Kim Yong Chol, who earlier this month met with President Trump to hand deliver a letter from Kim, CNN reported.

A plane from Air China was detected at the airport in Pyongyang at 8:30 am. Initially, it was flying to Beijing but later changed its flight number from CA122 to CA61,destined for Singapore, according to Flightradar24, a Swedish-based flight route-tracking website.

Yonhap reported that Chammae-1 - an Ilyushin-62M passenger jet - Kim's official plane, also left Pyongyang Sunday morning.

South Korean media said the plane can fly at a maximum speed of 900 kilometers per hour and carry about 200 people, with a maximum range of 9,200 kilometers.

Although the distance between Pyongyang and Singapore is 4,700 kilometers, which is within the plane's flight range, the Chammae-1 has reportedly never flown that far.

An Air Koryo Il-76 is also tracking south through China, Flighttradar24 said. The aircraft is believed to be carrying food and other supplies for Kim, the Strait Times reported.

Kim arrived at the St Regis Hotel on Sunday, CNN reported.

The Global Times reporter saw on Sunday that the hotel has tightened its security. People and vehicles entering the hotel are required to undergo strict security checks.

Every exit of St. Regis is surrounded by soldiers and journalists.

The Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, where the summit will be held, has also tightened entry access.

Moreover, Singapore has also set up checkpoints along many of its roads.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that his country will shoulder 20 million dollars to host the summit, the Strait Times reported.

Trump arrived on Air Force One at Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base Sunday night and was greeted by Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, CNN reported.

Summit prospects

The Trump-Kim summit may end up a success with North Korea making a big concession on denuclearization, and both sides moving to improve bilateral relations, Zheng Jiyong, director of Shanghai-based Fudan University's Center for Korean Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"We hope the two sides cherish the consensus and progress they have achieved, continue their preparations for the summit, and continue to move forward along the right path of politically resolving the Korean Peninsula issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a briefing on Tuesday.

The fact that both sides are finally getting together means a step toward peacefully resolving bilateral disputes and realizing peninsula denuclearization, Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

He also said that China has always insisted that the US and North Korea resolve their problems through dialogue, and that China has always been involved in the Korean Peninsula issue.

Newspaper headline: Kim meets Singapore PM as Trump arrives


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