North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived Sunday in Singapore ahead of one of the most unusual summits in recent world history, a sit-down Tuesday with President Donald Trump.
The jet carrying Kim landed at the airport Sunday afternoon amid huge security precautions on this city-state island. A large limousine with a North Korean flag was surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted window as it sped through the city’s streets.
Differing reports stated that Kim was on an Air China aircraft, not a private jet. However, others reported that the Air China Boeing 747 took off before the leader's jet did by an hour or two as a security measure to avoid making his mode of transportation known.
Kim’s summit with Trump has captured intense global attention after a turn to diplomacy in recent months after serious fears of war last year amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests. The North Korean autocrat’s every move will be followed by 3,000 journalists up until he shakes hands with Trump.
Despite the initial high stakes of a meeting meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know meeting. He has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korea War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty. China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted on his official Twitter account a picture of him shaking hands with Kim upon his arrival.
Welcomed Chairman Kim Jong Un, who has just arrived in Singapore. pic.twitter.com/ZLK4ouIejx— Vivian Balakrishnan (@VivianBala) June 10, 2018
At a press conference earlier on Sunday, Loong said that the summit cost approximately $20 million, which is a price the Singapore was “willing to pay”.
“From our point of view it’s important that the meeting take place, and that the meeting sets developments on a new trajectory - one that will be conducive to the security and stability of the region,” he said.
There has been widespread speculation about Kim’s rare trip out of the North, where he enjoys supreme power. He may be staying at the St. Regis Hotel, where China’s President Xi Jinping once stayed. He may be bringing his own armored limousine and bodyguards. A throng of journalists stood outside the hotel.
Video: Kim Jong Un arrived at St. Regis Hotel in Singapore. pic.twitter.com/By8XeEDDB5— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) June 10, 2018
At least three people have been turned away from Singapore borders due to summit, says Shanmugam.
This included an individual who was turned away after search of his mobile phone showed he was looking for info on suicide bombing, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
It’s not just the logistics of Kim’s trip that are unclear. There’s a flurry of speculation about what results might come from the summit.
It initially was meant to rid the North of its weapons, to forge the "complete denuclearization" of the country. North Korea has said it’s willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with a reliable security assurance and other benefits.
But many, if not all analysts, say that this is highly unlikely, given how hard it has been for Kim to build his program and that the weapons are seen as the only protection he has.
Trump’s supporters have floated the idea that forging such a treaty, which would need a signoff from China and South Korea, would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
Kim may be interested in getting aid and eventual investment to stabilize and then rebuild a crumbling economy. Just meeting with Trump will also give Kim recognition as the leader of a "normal" country and as an equal of the US leader.