Media speculations rise with venue, time set for US-NK summit

Media speculations rise with venue, time set for US-NK summit
A composite photo showing Trump and Kim in front of the Capella hotel in Sentosa.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The White House on Wednesday confirmed the venue of the US-North Korea summit in Singapore. 

In a Twitter post, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders revealed that the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island. A day earlier, Sanders told reporters that the meeting will start at 9am (Singapore time) on June 12.

on Twitter

While the summit getting back on track has fueled hopes for concrete results between Pyongyang and Washington, denuclearizing North Korea appears likely to become drawn out and involve political processes within the US.

An undated handout photo of Capella hotel on Sentosa island, Singapore.Photo: Reuters

On Tuesday (US time), US politicians said that any agreement the US reaches with North Korea will be subjected to review and approval by the Congress. 

“The president, the vice president and the secretary of state have all told me separately that their intent is to put together a treaty that will be submitted to the United States Senate under the constitution for certification,” Sen. James Risch was quoted as saying on Tuesday by US media. 

Risch’s comments follow on the heels of Democrat politicians’ letter listing conditions they deem acceptable in reaching any agreement with North Korea. 

Conditions include dismantling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, ending enrichment of uranium for weapons purposes and permanently dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons infrastructure.

SPECULATIONS

With no precedence to draw comparisons from, speculations are rising on every aspect of the summit, from Kim’s journey to Singapore to where the two leaders will pose for photographs.

Despite repeated denials from Seoul’s presidential office, news reports and rumors that Cheong Wa Dae is making preparations for a three-way summit in Singapore persist.

Such rumors, fueled in part by President Moon Jae-in’s hopes to sign a peace treaty, have gained traction in recent weeks, with Cheong Wa Dae and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials being sighted in Singapore.

Cheong Wa Dae, however, maintains that South Korean officials in Singapore are making preparations for later diplomatic events.

Top North Korean official seen in Sentosa for possible meeting with US officials

With China having declared that it will play a role in Korean Peninsula issues, the Chinese government is featuring in many of the speculations being floated by the South Korean media. 

According to local news reports citing unnamed sources, China is planning measures that will accentuate its relations with North Korea. 

A local news agency reported Wednesday that Beijing is considering providing an escort of fighter jets for Kim’s plane while it travels through China’s airspace. 

China is also said to be preparing for the possibility of Kim stopping over, and plans to dispatch a working-level delegation to Singapore to monitor the summit, and the impact its results may have on China. 

As the walk President Moon Jae-in took with Kim during their April 27 summit made a big impression, some local news outlets have raised the possibility of Kim and Trump recreating a similar scene. 

A local news agency on Wednesday reported that expectations for Kim and Trump to take a walk along the beach near Capella Hotel is rising among “some circles,” without elaborating.

Another point of interest for South Korean media appears to be whether hamburgers will feature on the menu of any of the meals served as an official part of the summit. 

Referring to Trump’s comment during his election campaign that US presidents should “be eating a hamburger on a conference table” in summit meetings rather than costly state dinners, local media have coined the term “hamburger luncheon conference.”

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