US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for historic denuclearisation talks in Singapore on June 12.
Mr Trump confirmed the details of the first-ever meeting between the leaders of the two nations via Twitter on Friday (Thursday local time).
“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” the President tweeted.
The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018
The focus of the talks is expected to be be North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and testing program, which has deepened long-seated tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
Mr Trump’s announcement came just hours after three Americans, who had been held prisoner in North Korea, arrived at a US military base outside Washington, after being released by Mr Kim.
The President said on their arrival he believed Mr Kim, who has led North Korea for seven years and is believed to be in his mid-30s, wanted to bring North Korea “into the real world”.
“I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful,” Mr Trump said.
“My proudest achievement will be — this is part of it — when we denuclearise that entire [Korean] peninsula.”
The prisoners, freed after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to the North Korean capital, landed at Joint Base Andrews, where a giant US flag was suspended between ladders of two fire trucks on the edge of the runway.
Mr Trump and first lady wife, Melania, boarded the plane for about five minutes before the men stepped out, shaking hands with the President and waving to waiting media and military personnel.
“Frankly we didn’t think it was going to happen and it did,” the President said, thanking Mr Kim for releasing the men.
“We’re starting off on a new footing. This is a wonderful thing that he released the folks early.”
Mr Trump and Mr Kim engaged in a heated exchange of rhetoric last year over North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
Tensions began to ease this year after the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
Singapore is a strong US ally and the US Navy frequently visits its port.
Mr Trump’s own preference for the meeting was for the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas, but aides argued that this would look too much like Mr Trump going to Mr Kim’s turf.
South Korea said it had high hopes for the summit.
“We welcome the North Korea-US summit to be held in Singapore on June 12. We hope the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula as well as permanent peace on the peninsula will successfully come about through this summit,” the South Korean government said in a statement.