North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who rarely ventures outside his isolated country, visited tourist sites on Singapore’s waterfront on Monday, hours before a historic summit with U S President Donald Trump.
Trump said earlier the Tuesday summit with Kim on a Singapore resort island could ‘work out very nicely’ as officials from both countries sought to narrow differences on how to end a nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula.
But U S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo injected a note of caution ahead of the first-ever meeting of the two leaders on Tuesday, saying that it remained to be seen whether Kim was sincere about his willingness to denuclearise.
Kim is not believed to have left his hotel since a meeting with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, soon after his arrival on Sunday in the city-state, but ventured out on Tuesday evening, smiling as he walked through the lobby to his limousine.
The Swiss-educated leader, who is believed to be 34, has not left his country since taking office in 2011 other than to visit China and the South Korean side of the border Demilitarised Zone, which separates the two Koreas.
On Monday evening, Kim’s first stop was a waterfront park with futuristic installations, Gardens by the Bay, which boasts the largest glass greenhouse and tallest indoor waterfall in the world.
Police and onlookers were also seen gathering outside the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which resembles a giant surfboard perched on three columns at the mouth of the Singapore River.
Earlier, officials from the two sides held last-minute talks aimed at laying the groundwork for the summit between Trump and Kim, a meeting almost unthinkable just months ago when the two were exchanging insults and threats that raised fears of war.
But after a flurry of diplomatic overtures eased tension in recent months, the two leaders are now headed for a history-making handshake that U S officials hope could eventually lead to dismantling of a North Korean nuclear programme that threatens the United States./Reuters