Trump says US-North Korea summit 'can work out very nicely', thanks PM Lee for hospitality

Trump says US-North Korea summit 'can work out very nicely', thanks PM Lee for hospitality

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and United States President Donald Trump held a bilateral meeting on Monday (Jun 11), just one day before Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are due to meet for a planned summit on Sentosa island. Brandon Tanoto with more.

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and United States President Donald Trump held a bilateral meeting on Monday (Jun 11), just one day before Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are due to meet for a planned summit on Sentosa island.

Mr Trump was received by Mr Lee at the Istana, and was accompanied by secretary of state Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House chief of staff John Kelly. 

The Singapore delegation included Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. 

Mr Lee also hosted a working lunch for Mr Trump and his delegation. At the lunch, Mr Trump expressed optimism for Tuesday's meeting with Mr Kim and also thanked his Singapore hosts for their hospitality. 

"We have a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely," he said. "But we appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and your friendship." 

In a photo shared by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on social media, the lunch menu appeared to include lobster bisque, Angus beef tenderloin and ice-cream.

menu for pm lee-trump lunch on june 11
US President Donald Trump at a working lunch hosted by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Monday (Jun 11), ahead of Trump-Kim summit on Jun 12. (Photo: Facebook/Ong Ye Kung)

The delegations also celebrated the birthday of Mr Trump, who turns 72 on Jun 14, Mr Balakrishnan tweeted.

Donald Trump blows out the candle on his birthday cake at the Istana
US President Donald Trump blows out the candle on his birthday cake as the US and Singapore delegations celebrate his birthday during a working lunch at the Istana. The US President turns 72 on Jun 14, 2018. (Photo: MCI)

Mr Trump’s motorcade left the Shangri-La Hotel, where he is staying, shortly before noon to make the short journey to the Istana. Crowds of curious onlookers lined the convoy’s route, taking photographs and waving.

Mr Trump also waved to the crowds who lined the streets.

Earlier on Monday morning, Mr Trump tweeted saying it was “great to be in Singapore, excitement is in the air".

Following his meeting with Mr Lee, Mr Trump accepted an invitation from President Halimah Yacob to make a state visit to Singapore in November 2018, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

MFA added that Mr Lee and Mr Trump had a "good discussion" on a wide range of regional and global developments. Both leaders also reaffirmed "excellent" bilateral relations.

The US president tweeted "Thank you Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong" after the meeting, along with a White House video of the meeting's highlights.

The day began with a series of meetings between North Korean and US officials at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, where US envoy Sung Kim met with high-ranking North Korean diplomats.

Mr Trump, who arrived in Singapore on Sunday evening, was due to meet with US embassy officials later on Monday afternoon.  

Mr Trump had cut short his time at the G7 summit in Canada to come to Singapore for the Tuesday meeting with Mr Kim, which will be held at Sentosa’s Capella hotel.

The unprecedented meeting, which is the first time a sitting US president meets a North Korean leader, will see the two leaders discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearisation, in return for economic help and security guarantees. 

Mr Lee also held a separate meeting at the Istana with Mr Kim on Sunday. During the meeting, Mr Lee and Mr Kim discussed Singapore-North Korea relations, as well as developments in the North and the region.

Mr Lee also complimented the bold and admirable decision by Mr Kim and Mr Trump to come together for Tuesday’s summit. 

More than 2,500 journalists from around the world have converged on Singapore to cover the landmark summit.

Watch our comprehensive coverage of the Trump-Kim summit live on YouTube from 7am on Tuesday (Jun 12). Subscribe to our channel here.

You can also watch the livestream, and read updates at www.channelnewsasia.com/trumpkimsummit.

Source: CNA/rw

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