It’s down to two finalists. When President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will make history by sitting down for a meeting it will take place either in Mongolia or Singapore, according to CBS News. Trump said details of the meeting are still being sorted and on Friday noted that the choice of venue had been whittled down to “two countries.” A South Korean daily had previously reported the shortlist of the two countries and now CNN hears from two people familiar with the discussions that U.S. officials favor Singapore.
On Saturday, Trump said that he’d spoken to leaders in the region to prepare for the historic meeting. “Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set,” the president said on Twitter, noting he had “a long and very good talk with President Moon of South Korea.” Trump also said he “spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan to inform him of the ongoing negotiations.”
Although Trump celebrated the meeting between the two Korean leader by tweeting “KOREAN WAR TO END!” the historic handshake likely weakens Trump’s negotiating position. The New York Times’ Mark Landler explains:
While the two Korean leaders pledged to rid the heavily armed peninsula of nuclear weapons, they put no timeline on that process, nor did they set out a common definition of what a nuclear-free Korea would look like. Instead, they agreed to pursue a peace treaty this year that would formally end the Korean War after nearly seven decades of hostilities.
The talk of peace is likely to weaken the two levers that Mr. Trump used to pressure Mr. Kim to come to the bargaining table. A resumption of regular diplomatic exchanges between the two Koreas, analysts said, will inevitably erode the crippling economic sanctions against the North, while Mr. Trump will find it hard to threaten military action against a country that is extending an olive branch.