Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore for 'world peace'

Pyongyang's weapons programme has seen tensions on the Korean Peninsula reach ratchet up in recent months.

Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore for 'world peace'

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The main issue under discussion at the Trump-Kim summit is expected to be North Korea's nuclear weapons, which the US is demanding Pyongyang give up. 

There has been no word from North Korea on its agenda or what it might offer, although a key issue is likely to be the presence of 30,000 US military personnel in South Korea, along with the removal of sanctions.

Trump's announcement came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned home from North Korea with three detained Americans. The US President, who personally greeted the trio at the Andrews Air Force Base, praised Kim for their release ahead of their summit.

The Americans - Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim - were freed on Wednesday by North Korea while Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital Pyongyang to finalise the details of the summit. The trio had been jailed for 'anti-state activities' and placed in North Korean labour camps.

"I had productive meetings in Pyongyang with Chairman Kim Jong-un and made progress. I'm delighted to bring home three Americans," Pompeo had said.

Until now, the only American released by North Korea during Trump’s presidency was Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old university student who returned to the US in a coma in summer of 2017 after 17 months of captivity and died days later. Warmbier's death had escalated US-North Korea tensions, already running high at the time over Pyongyang's stepped-up missile tests.

"We are starting off on a new footing - I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful. A lot of very good things have happened," Trump said as he greeted the three former prisoners. "I really think he wants to do something and bring the country into the real world. It's never been taken this far, there has never been a relationship like this. I really think a lot of progress has been made," he added of Kim.

The summit, which has been in the works since Trump accepted Kim's invitation to meet in March 2018, will be the first-ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader. 

Pyongyang's weapons programme has seen tensions in the Korean Peninsula reach ratchet up in recent months, prompting fresh rounds of sanctions and fiery rhetoric from Trump and Kim. 

(With PTI and Reuters inputs)

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