October 20, 2021

Singapore’s long, cozy relationship with North Korea

The city-state's history of ties to Pyongyang make it a fitting site for the Kim-Trump summit

The announcement earlier in the month of the location and date of the upcoming Trump-Kim summit surprised some observers and led to a predictable flurry of news articles analyzing why Singapore was chosen as the location for the June 12 summit between U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Security and neutrality were often cited as the main reasons for the selection of Singapore: a view that neglects a long history of friendly relations between Singapore’s government and the Kim family regime. Using declassified U.S. State Department files found at the U.S. National Archives, this article examines the origins of the Singapore-DPRK relationship.