US President Donald Trump has ruled out the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas as a possible location for his upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, leaving Singapore as the most likely country to host the high profile summit.
In a statement made on Wednesday (May 9), Trump said the time and place of the meeting have been decided and the details would be announced within the next three days, according to The Guardian.
However, CNN quoted two people familiar with the plans as saying that administration officials were already mobilised to organise the meeting in Singapore.
Between Singapore and the DMZ, US officials have shown preference for the former as they see the country’s neutrality and infrastructure as advantages over locations nearer to Pyongyang.
While Singapore holds close diplomatic ties with Washington, it also hosts a North Korean embassy, making it all the more appealing to serve as a meeting venue.
But ultimately, it would be up to Trump to finalise the details and make the decision.
The report came as US secretary of state Mike Pompeo returned home from Pyongyang with three US nationals previously imprisoned by North Korea. They were released following talks between Pompeo and Kim regarding the summit.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the upcoming summit would be a “historic meeting” for the “excellent first step toward promotion of the positive situation development in the Korean peninsula and building of a good future”.
The US has a different set of goals as it aims to achieve immediate “permanent, verifiable irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programme”, said Pompeo.
He told reporters that although the location and time of the meeting had been agreed, further details would only be unveiled in the next few days.
“Now that part is behind us for sure, and we had a chance to talk substantively about what we intend to be on the agenda, and also how we’re going to begin to coordinate in the days ahead between now and the summit in a way we – both sides are confident that we will set the conditions for a successful meeting between the two leaders,” he said.