After months of mudslinging and a war of words, the cold relation between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is finally witnessing some thaw. The two leaders are set to meet in June and Singapore has reportedly emerged as the top contender to host Trump and Jong Un.
The two leaders are likely to discuss North Korea's nuclear programme and how the reclusive nation could aid in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
The thaw came after South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, intelligence chief Suh Hoon and South Korea's ambassador to the US and Cho Yoon-je visited the White House and spoke about their meeting with Jong Un and said that the North Korean leader was "committed to denuclearization."
Over the weekend, Trump said that the two nations had decided a date and venue for the historic meet, but did not provide details. "We'll be announcing it soon," AFP quoted Trump as saying.
While Trump may not have spoken about when and where he and Jong Un will meet, South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo reported Monday, May 7, that the two leaders are likely to meet "mid-June" after the G-7 Summit in Canada, which is scheduled for June 8 and 9.
Conjecture over the venue has been going on for weeks, with Pyongyang, Mongolia, Sweden, Switzerland, Indonesia, and Thailand being named as possible places. However, it now looks like Singapore has snagged the opportunity to host the historic meet.
Why does Singapore stand a higher chance of hosting Trump and Jong Un?
The sovereign city-state and island country of Singapore seems to have an upper hand due to its security. The nation is known for its vibrancy, efficiency, the absence of corruption and extremely well-managed public order.
"Singapore's neutrality is a draw for both. Public security is not a worry. The US is also favourable towards a location with prestige and glamour," the Straits Times quoted Dr Lim Tai Wei, adjunct research fellow at East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, as saying.
Singapore is also popular for hosting high-profile diplomats, the most well-known being in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping met former Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou. Additionally, the US, as well as, Pyongyang have missions in the country.
However, the details are yet to be confirmed and Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore earlier said that he hadn't received any communication on the meet or the venue.
Trump had earlier even suggested Pamunjom, a village on the border of the two Koreas and the South too was quite pleased with the idea. "They don't want to be excluded, which is why they are trying to persuade North Korea to have the summit in Panmunjom," ST quoted Dr Park Jee Kwang of the Sejong Institute think-tank as saying.
Mongolia too a good option
It has been said that Mongolia too is a good option for the leaders to meet and while Trump can fly down in the Air Force One, Pyongyang is connected to the nation via rail and Jong Un can travel in his bulletproof train.
The North Korean leader recently visited China in the old-style armored green train with horizontal yellow lines. The train is known to be heavily secured and pulled by two power units and comes with a range of enviable facilities.
Why not Sweden and Switzerland?
While both the nations have offered to host Trump and Jong Un during the meet, it has been said that it might be an issue for North Korea as the state aircraft is not in the best of conditions and may not be able to cover the distance.