SINGAPORE — A select few of President Trump’s closest aides will witness and participate in the historic summit Tuesday with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, according to new details released by the White House – which says discussions surrounding the sit-down “have moved more quickly than expected.”
A White House statement confirmed that Trump and the reclusive North Korean leader will meet at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET on Monday) in Singapore.
They will first enter a one-on-one meeting with translators only, the first meeting ever between a U.S. president and North Korea’s leader – and Trump’s first opportunity to gauge Kim’s willingness to negotiate on dismantling his nuclear weapons program.
From there, according to the White House, the meeting will expand to include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
As first reported by Fox News, a working lunch will then be held including Press Secretary Sarah Sanders; National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger; and Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines and a former North Korea policy official.
Kim Jong Un is expected to have a small contingent including Kim Yong Chol, who visited Trump at the White House in the run-up to the summit to deliver a letter from the North Korean dictator.
The details were falling into place at a rapid pace. A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. and North Korean delegations have held a second meeting in advance of the summit.
Pompeo told reporters earlier Monday that the U.S. is “prepared to make security assurances” for North Korea if they denuclearize.
The summit itself is set to kick off with a handshake between Trump and Kim, a symbolic image that may define the future of millions of people.
The U.S. president said Saturday that he’ll understand Kim’s intentions “within the first minute” of meeting him and whether he’s willing to give up the nuclear arsenal.
“I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people,” Trump said at a press conference in Canada during the G7 summit over the weekend. “It’s a one-time shot and I think it’s going to work out very well.”
But he urged caution, adding that “there’s a good chance it won’t work out” and that “there’s probably an even better chance it will take a period of time.”
“I think the minimum would be relationship. You would start at least a dialogue, because, you know, as a deal person, I have done very well with deals,” Trump said of his expectations.
Pyongyang indicated that it may be open to getting rid of its nuclear weapons in exchange for the U.S. security guarantees and other benefits, though some believe it’s an unrealistic prospect as the nuclear arsenal cements Kim’s grip on the country and deters all-out attacks against them.
But the two sides could come up with a peace treaty that would formally end the Korean War. Trump also raised the possibility of further summits in the future.
Bolton, meanwhile, is said to be highly involved in the process – and will be present at all significant meetings, Fox News is told.
This is significant, as Bolton raised alarm in Pyongyang after he suggested applying the “Libya model” to North Korea – Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi was killed in an uprising years after he gave up the country’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program.