Singapore’s foreign minister will visit North Korea on Thursday ahead of the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
In a statement on Wednesday, Singapore’s foreign ministry announced that Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and other senior diplomats will visit Pyongyang at the invitation of North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong-ho.
The team of diplomats will meet with the president of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly and the country’s ceremonial president, Kim Yong-nam.
They did not provide details of the purpose of the visit, although they are widely expected to discuss preparations for the meeting between Kim and Trump, set to take place on June 12th at the resort island of Sentosa. The two men are expected to meet at the luxurious Capella Hotel, whose isolated location will allow for tighter security than other parts of the city.
UPDATE: The venue for the Singapore summit between @POTUS and Leader Kim Jong Un will be the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 5, 2018
The United States is expected to pay for Kim’s luxurious accommodations. A report from the Washington Post indicated that the Trump administration is “seeking a discreet way” to pay high travel costs. This is despite some experts estimating Kim’s personal wealth at close to a billion dollars.
Last month, Trump canceled the meeting with Kim proposed summit, citing the “tremendous anger and open hostility” displayed by North Korean officials who described Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” after he suggested the country could turn out like Libya if they refused to make a deal and denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Trump eventually changed his mind and rescheduled the summit, as the world now awaits what will be an extraordinary encounter between two men who have traded egregious insults and threatened to destroy each other’s countries. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who considers himself a “friend” of Kim Jong-un, will also reportedly be in attendance in Singapore, though there is no evidence he was invited to the meeting itself.
“I think it’s probably going to be a very successful, ultimately a successful process,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn following a meeting with Kim’s right-hand man Kim Yong-chol, who remains one of the Treasury Department’s “Specially Designated Persons” for his alleged terrorist activity that includes an attack on South Korean warships that killed 46 people.