WASHINGTON — President Trump announced Thursday that he will meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore, setting up an historic summit in hopes of getting Kim to give up his nuclear weapons programs.
"The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th," Trump tweeted. "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!"
Trump will be the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a leader of North Korea, which emerged as a communist state from the dusk of World War II and the dawn of the Cold War; its development of nuclear weapons over the past two decades has posed a major threat to global security.
Foreign policy analysts said the summit is likely to generate good headlines, given Trump's eagerness to make a deal and Kim's apparent willingness to look cooperative. Many observers, however, expressed skepticism that Kim would follow through on Trump's major goal: North Korean disarmament.
"Can they get along? Yes," said David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "I think it's highly, highly unlikely that Kim Jong Un actually gives up nuclear weapons."
Trump's tweeted announcement about the meeting capped weeks of negotiations that began when the president announced March 8 he had accepted Kim's invitation as delivered by South Korean government officials.
While teasing the announcement in recent days, Trump has said he would continue urging China and other nations to cut off economic aid to North Korea until it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons programs.
"A lot of things can happen," Trump said Wednesday. "A lot of good things can happen. A lot of bad things can happen. I believe that we have both sides want to negotiate a deal."
In the run-up to the announcement, Trump has praised Kim in a striking change of rhetoric regarding the leader he once denounced as "Little Rocket Man." At one point, Trump threatened to drop "fire and fury" on North Korea if Kim carried out his threats to the United States and its allies.
Negotiators cleared a major hurdle this week with North Korea's release of three American hostages.
In welcoming the three former prisoners back to the United States during an early morning ceremony, Trump praised Kim by saying he "really was excellent to these three incredible people."
Trump said his "proudest achievement ... will be when we denuclearize that entire (Korean) peninsula. This is what people have been waiting for for a long time. Nobody thought we could be on this track in terms of speed."