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How the much awaited Trump-Kim summit took place – A timeline

It’s been a rather long journey of mistrust, war and skirmishes that finally culminated in the historic summit in Singapore. Take a brief look at the recent events that finally lead to the signing of agreement on Tuesday. 

How the Trump-Kim summit came together:

January 1, 2018: After an unusually provocative 2017 during which North Korea tested a thermonuclear warhead and three intercontinental ballistic missiles, Kim Jong Un initiates diplomacy in his annual New Year address. Calls for improved relations and engagement with South Korea but adds he has a nuclear button on his desk.

Trump responds that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button adding “And my Button works”

January 9, 2018: North and South Korean officials meet at a border village and agree on North Korea sending athletes and delegates to the Winter Olympics in the South. Hundreds of North Koreans go to the Pyeongchang Games in February, including Kim’s sister, who conveys her brother’s desire for an inter-Korean summit with South Korea’s president.

March 8, 2018: South Korean envoys meet Trump in Washington and deliver an invitation from Kim to meet. Trump accepts the invitation.

April 18, 2018: Trump confirms that Mike Pompeo, then the CIA chief, had met Kim secretly in North Korea and said “a good relationship was formed” heading into the anticipated summit.

April 21, 2018: North Korea suspends nuclear and ICBM tests and plans to close its nuclear test site as part of a shift in its national focus to developing its economy.

Trump tweets: “This is very good news for North Korea and the World”

April 27, 2018: Kim holds a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The leaders announce aspirational goals of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.

May 9, 2018: Pompeo, US Secretary of State, makes another visit to Pyongyang to prepare for the Trump-Kim summit. North Korea releases three Americans who had been imprisoned.

May 10, 2018: Trump announces he will meet with Kim in Singapore on June 12. He tweets: “We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”

May 12, 2018: North Korea says it will hold a ceremony to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23rd-25th.

May 16, 2018: North Korea abruptly cancels a high-level meeting with the South and threatens to cancel the Summit with Trump too in protest over U.S.-South Korean military exercises and U.S. comments that the North should follow the “Libya model” of denuclearization by eliminating everything upfront. The North says it won’t be unilaterally pressured into abandoning its nuclear weapons.

May 22, 2018: Trump and Moon meet at the White House to discuss the Trump-Kim talks. The South Korean President says the fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge on the meeting in Singapore.

May 24, 2018: North Korea dismantles its nuclear testing ground infront of foreign journalists. Trump announces hours later that he’s pulling out of the summit.

May 25, 2018: North Korea attempts damage control, saying it is still willing to hold talks with the United States at any time and in any format.  Moon calls Trump’s move to cancel the summit “very perplexing.” Says Washington and Pyongyang should get the talks back on track.

May 26, 2018: Kim and Moon meet at a border village in an effort to revive the summit with Trump. Moon says Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearize their peninsula but also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to provide a credible security guarantee in return.

May 30, 2018: North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean official visits the United States. He arrived in New York for pre-summit negotiations with Pompeo.

June 1, 2018: After meeting Kim Yong Chol at the White House, Trump says his meeting with Kim Jong Un is back on for June 12.

June 5, 2018: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets the Trump-Kim meeting will be held at Singapore’s Capella Hotel.

June 10, 2018:  Trump and Kim arrive in Singapore for the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. 

June 11, 2018: Mike Pompeo says US is offering “unique” security guarantees to North Korea in return for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization.

June 12, 2018: President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet for a historic face-to-face summit.

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