No incumbent US leader had ever met a North Korean leader in person since North Korea was founded in 1948. Years of open war (between 1950 and 1953) and deep tensions over the North's nuclear weapons programme and totalitarian dictatorship left the relationship on very, very cold ice.
Negotiations over the North's nuclear programme have been ongoing for years, although intermittently. A period of warming relations between began in 2018 around the time of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim Jong-un met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang and met with Kim.
The buildup to the summit was not easy. Trump cancelled the summit on May 24, after tensions over comments made by him and Pompeo, writing a letter to Kim in which he said " "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting".
In the end, the summit was called back on, and Trump and Kim met at the Capella Hotel on , in a meeting that was broadcast in real-time all across the globe. After a series of one-on-one talks and meetings with officials, Trump and Kim signed a four-point agreement. Some progress on nuclear issues was made, and North Korea dismantled an ICBM facility shortly after the meeting and destroyed a missile test site.
Trump and Kim would meet two more times, in January 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam, which Trump cut short after North Korea asked for all sanctions to be removed; and again at the DMZ on 30 June, where Trump briefly set foot into North Korean territory.
Photographer: Shealah Craighead
Location taken: Singapore
Source: Wikimedia Commons
- 2018-06-12 Singapore Summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump - first time a North Korean leader and an incumbent US President have ever met