International desk, June 10: US President Donald Trump has said next week’s summit with Kim Jong-un is a “one-time shot” at peace.A meeting between Mr Trump and the North Korean leader Mr Kim will take place on Tuesday in Singapore.
Mr Trump described the summit as a “mission of peace”, but said that the two leaders were in “unknown territory in the truest sense”.
Mr Trump comes to Singapore after falling out with other world leaders over tariffs at a G7 summit in Canada.
En route, he tweeted an upbeat message about the forthcoming summit with Mr Kim.
Washington hopes the talks will kick-start a process that eventually sees Mr Kim give up his nuclear weapons.
The two leaders have had an extraordinary up-and-down relationship over the past 18 months.
When they finally come face to face on Tuesday morning at a hotel on the island resort of Sentosa, it will be the first time a North Korean leader has met a sitting US president.
Mr Trump’s first year in office was marked by bitter exchanges with Mr Kim as North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests in defiance of international warnings.
The US president successfully sought to tighten UN sanctions on the North, and to get its traditional ally, China, to go along with this. He also famously vowed to unleash “fire and fury” if Pyongyang kept threatening the US.
In return, Mr Kim called him “mentally deranged” and a “dotard”.
Despite the White House’s “maximum pressure” campaign, the North remained defiant and carried out its sixth nuclear test in September 2017. Soon after, Mr Kim declared that his country had achieved its mission of becoming a nuclear state, with missiles that could reach the US.
In early 2018, a remarkable turnaround in the relationship occurred. It started with significant diplomatic overtures from North Korea towards South Korea during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In March, Mr Trump surprised the world by accepting an invitation from Mr Kim – delivered via Seoul – to meet in person.
Since then, the path to the summit has been rocky and uncertain, with Mr Trump at one point calling it off completely. But after some diplomatic scrambling, the two leaders will now sit down together.