Donald Trump to meet with North Korea′s Kim Jong Un on June 12 | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 10.05.2018
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Donald Trump to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un on June 12

US President Donald Trump announced he would meet the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un next month in Singapore. The two leaders will "both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" Trump said in a tweet.

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The leaders of the US and North Korea are set to meet on June 12 in Singapore, President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Thursday. The meeting comes amid a historic diplomatic thaw that saw North Korea pledge to work towards denuclearization.

"We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" Trump added.

The summit will mark the first time a sitting US president meets with a North Korean leader.

Read more: From Little Rocket Man to pledge of denuclearization - a timeline of recent ties between US and North Korea

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traveled to North Korea twice in recent months to meet Kim Jong Un in preparation for the meeting with Trump.

A day before Trump's announcement, North Korea released three American prisoners. The move was greeted by the US president, who thanked the North Korean strongman and expressed his belief that Kim wanted to bring his country "into the real world."

"I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful," Trump said at the time. "My proudest achievement will be — this is part of it — when we denuclearize that entire peninsula."

Read more: Is the world expecting too much from the Kim-Trump summit?

Less than two weeks ago, Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in what was hailed as a major breakthrough after Pyongyang's nuclear tests had caused tensions to rise between the countries. Kim also traveled to China to meet President Xi Jinping this week. China is the key ally of the isolated country, which has been ruled by the Kim family since 1948.

The peace effort marks a notable U-turn for Trump, whose incendiary tweets prompted fear of armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula last year. Amid the latest thaw, however, South Korea's Moon  suggested awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Trump.

Following Trump's announcement on Thursday, Seoul officials said they had high hopes for the upcoming meeting.

"We welcome the North Korea-US summit to be held in Singapore on June 12," the South Korean government said in a statement. "We hope the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as permanent peace on the peninsula will successfully come about through this summit."

Seoul and Pyongyang have yet to formally end the Korean war, despite the conflict being de facto over since 1953.

While North Korea signaled it may be willing to give up its nuclear arsenal, it is not yet known what Pyongyang would ask from Seoul and Washington in return. The US has 35,000 troops in South Korea and its military conducts regular exercises with the South Korean army, much to the chagrin of the North.

The US also maintains a "nuclear umbrella" over South Korea, meaning the US is expected to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack against its ally.

North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006 and has worked to enlarge and improve its nuclear arsenal in recent years. Pyongyang also claims to have missiles powerful enough to deliver nuclear warheads to US mainland.

dj/kms (AP, Reuters)

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