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View more articles by Colin Zwirko
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his office in Singapore Sunday evening in his first diplomatic outing of his visit to the country ahead of Tuesday’s landmark summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Arriving at the Prime Minister’s office after 1900 local time, Kim shook hands with Lee and his staff then sat down to begin talks in front of the cameras before the press was ushered out a few minutes later.
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a statement saying the two discussed mutual relations and the situation on the Korean peninsula, with Prime Minister Lee thanking Kim for his and Trump’s “bold and admirable decision” to hold the summit.
The MFA also said Lee will meet President Trump separately on Monday.
Kim was accompanied at the meeting by vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Kim Yong Chol, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the WPK Ri Su Yong, and Colonel General No Kwang Chol – one of the three promoted in a recent North Korean military shakeup.
Kim and Ri both joined Kim Jong Un for the April 27 inter-Korean summit, and Kim Yong Chol recently traveled to the U.S. to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before delivering a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump at the White House.
The North Korean leader reportedly arrived at Changi Airport in Singapore Sunday afternoon, where he was met by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.
There was speculation throughout the day over whether Kim Jong Un had taken his private jet– an Ilyushin IL-62M – from Pyongyang, but official photos released by the Singaporean Ministry of Communications and Information showing Kim meeting Balakrishnan on the tarmac appear to reveal that he flew to Singapore aboard an Air China Boeing 747.
Kim’s full delegation has not yet been confirmed, but other prominent North Korean officials seen in photos included foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and Kim Chang Son – the man who has been in Singapore in recent weeks negotiating logistical details for the summit.
The North Korean leader then traveled to the St. Regis Hotel – where he will be staying for the duration of the visit – in his armored limousine, which arrived on a separate flight.
Meanwhile, President Trump arrived at Paya Lebar Airbase in Singapore in the evening and was also received there by the country’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Featured image: Ministry of Communications and Information, Republic of Singapore