Singapore's foreign minister to visit North Korea on Thursday ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Reuters , Wednesday 6 Jun 2018

Vivian Balakrishnan
Singapore's Foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan speaks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting retreat in Singapore February 6, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan will visit North Korea from Thursday to Friday, the Singapore government said in a statement, days before it plays host to the leaders of North Korea and the United States at a summit.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are due to hold their historic meeting in Singapore on Tuesday next week.

Singapore's foreign ministry gave few other details but said Balakrishnan would call upon the president of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly and ceremonial president, Kim Yong Nam.

The United States and North Korea agreed upon Singapore last month as the venue for the first ever meeting between leaders of the two countries.

The White House said then it chose Singapore because it could ensure the security of both leaders and provide a neutral meeting ground.

Singapore has diplomatic ties with both the United States and North Korea. The Southeast Asian city-state serves as a regional headquarters for many large US companies and US Navy vessels use the its port facilities.

Singapore suspended trade relations with the reclusive Northeast Asian state last year following tightened UN sanctions over its weapons programme, however, North Korea still operates a small embassy in the city.

In 2008, Singapore sent its then foreign minister, George Yeo, on an official visit to North Korea. During that trip, he toured the Nampo Port and Kaesong industrial zone.

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