SINGAPORE, June 12: President Donald Trump proclaimed Tuesday that his momentous summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had gone “better than anybody could have expected” and announced that the leaders planned a signing ceremony shortly. He offered no details on what was being signed.
Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim concluded a summit that seemed just unthinkable months ago, clasping hands before a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, holding a one-on-one meeting, additional talks with advisers and a working lunch.
After the lunch, Trump announced the signing ceremony but provided no details, saying only: “We’re going to be announcing that in a couple of minutes.”
At a meeting that could chart the course for historic peace or raise the specter of a growing nuclear threat, both leaders expressed optimism. Kim called the sit-down a “good prelude for peace” and Trump pledged that “working together we will get it taken care of.”
For all the upbeat talk, it was an open question what, if any, concrete results the sit-down would produce. In advance of their private session, Trump predicted “tremendous success” while Kim said through an interpreter that “we have come here after overcoming” obstacles.
Aware that the eyes of the world were on a moment many people never expected to see, Kim said many of those watching would think it was a scene from a “science fiction movie.”
In the run-up to the meeting, Trump had predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But in the hours before the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore earlier than expected — Tuesday evening — raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.
Giving voice to the anticipation felt around the world, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday he “hardly slept” before the summit. Moon and other officials watched the live broadcast of the summit before a South Korean Cabinet meeting in his presidential office
The meeting was the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
After meeting privately and with aides, Trump and Kim moved into the luncheon at a long flower-bedecked table. As they entered, Trump injected some levity to the day’s extraordinary events, saying: “Getting a good picture everybody? So we look nice and handsome and thin? Perfect.”