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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Trump and North Korea's Kim to hold landmark summit in Singapore

The historic meeting comes after Kim committed to denuclearisation

US president DonaldTrump, left, greets US detainees that were released by North Korea; Kim Dong-chul, centre, and Kim Hak-song, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Michael Reynolds / EPA
US president DonaldTrump, left, greets US detainees that were released by North Korea; Kim Dong-chul, centre, and Kim Hak-song, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Michael Reynolds / EPA

US president Donald Trump is to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.

"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!" Mr Trump tweeted to his 50 million followers on Thursday.

The summit will be the first between the two leaders and comes after a year of barbs traded between the two.

But Kim recently stepped onto South Korean soil for the first time and committed to denuclearisation in a bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping, the president of China, Pyongyang's only major diplomatic ally.

Mr Trump said he favoured holding the meeting at the Demilitarised Zone, the heavily fortified border separating the Koreas. But the city state was favoured by most of his advisers.

The Southeast Asian financial hub was likely chosen due to its neutrality, security advantages and track record of hosting international summits, observers say.

The ultramodern city-state has robust security infrastructure and is widely considered one of the safest cities in Asia.

It has tight restrictions over media and public gatherings, which will allow for a controlled environment likely to be preferred by the North Koreans.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, travelled to Pyongyang twice to meet with Mr Kim in recent months, in a precursor to the Trump-Kim meeting. Mr Pompeo returned overnight with three captive Americans during his most recent trip.

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Korea summit

Three Americans freed by North Korea greeted home by Trump

North Korea frees three American detainees ahead of summit

Pompeo in Pyongyang with detainees on agenda

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Earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump thanked Mr Kim for releasing three Americans from captivity, saying he believes Kim wants to reach an agreement on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Welcoming the three Americans at a military base outside Washington early Thursday, Mr Trump said: "I really think he wants to do something".

The military hospital that received the three Americans released by North Korea says they will be reunited with their families once they have achieved what hospital officials call "an optimal period of decompression".

The statement was released through the Pentagon by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

It says family support is critically important for the returnees, and that allowing them to decompress away from their families is the standard, proven process for all who reintegrate into American society after a period of captivity.

The statement says reuniting with families too soon can "cause additional psychological stress."

Mr Trump added of the talks between his administration and the North Korean government, "It's never been taken this far".

Trump said he will not disclose whether he will have any personal conversations with Kim as they prepare for their historic summit in the coming weeks.