Vietnam Time

6/11/2018 1:06:19 PM

President Trump meets PM Lee ahead of historic Trump-Kim summit

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

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Istana. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

Trump was received by 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.

Lee also hosted a working lunch for Trump and his delegation. At the lunch, Trump expressed optimism for Tuesday's meeting with 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 chendol ice-cream.

U.S. President Donald Trump at a working lunch hosted by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Monday (June 11th), ahead of Trump-Kim summit on June 12th. (Photo: Facebook/Ong Ye Kung)

​​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.

He also waved to the crowds who lined the streets.

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

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

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

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

The unprecedented meeting, which is the first time a sitting U.S. president meets a North Korean leader, could see North Korea dismantle its nuclear arsenal in return for economic help and security guarantees.

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

Lee also complimented the bold and admirable decision by Kim and 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./.

VNF/CNA  
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