Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — President Trump announced Thursday his high-stakes summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place on June 12 in Singapore.
“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th,” he tweeted. “We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”
The announcement capped off weeks of negotiations over the date and location for the talks that began in early March, when the president said he would accept Kim’s invitation to meet.
Trump has previously suggested the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas would be the best place for the historic summit, but U.S. officials had urged him to stage the talks in a neutral third country.
Singapore maintains diplomatic relations with both the U.S. and North Korea.
The meeting will mark the first time a sitting U.S. president meets with the leader of North Korea.
Trump has sought to keep the North Koreans off-balance ahead of the talks, suggesting that he could call them off if Pyongyang takes any steps toward ramping up nuclear activity.
“Everything can be scuttled. Lot of things can happen. A lot of good things can happen, a lot of bad things can happen. I believe that we have — both sides want to negotiate a deal,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Trump revealed the details of the meeting after North Korea released three American detainees who were imprisoned there on charges that were widely viewed as politically motivated.
Trump met the three men early Thursday morning on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington, D.C., and suggested their release could pave the way toward an agreement on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
The president told reporters “it’s a great honor” to have the men back on U.S. soil, but said, “The true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”
Some foreign policy experts have said Trump is making a mistake in entering into talks with Kim, saying the meeting rewards his aggressive behavior and political repression.
They are also worried that Trump could make too many concessions to Kim in pursuit of a nuclear deal, such all withdrawing all or some U.S. troops from South Korea.
Trump and his team are confident, however, that he will find a way to end the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
“President Trump found a way to communicate in terms, I believe, that Kim Jong Un could finally hear,” Vice President Pence said Thursday in an interview with ABC News. “He could hear that this president was serious about achieving the objective that has eluded the world community for a quarter century: denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”