“The president and the entire U.S. team are looking forward to tomorrow’s summit,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement on Monday.
That team includes, among others, Mr. Pompeo; John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff; John R. Bolton, the national security adviser; and Matthew Pottinger, the National Security Council’s top Asia hand.
The administration also recruited Sung Y. Kim, a seasoned North Korea negotiator currently serving as the American ambassador to the Philippines.
Among the North Koreans attending the summit meeting is Kim Yong-chol, a former leader of North Korea’s main spy agency, who now serves as a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party. He had visited Mr. Trump at the White House on June 1, delivering a personal letter from Mr. Kim.
Ri Yong-ho, the foreign minister, and Choe Son-hui, a vice foreign minister, have haggled with the United States for decades over their country’s nuclear weapons program. Ms. Choe called Vice President Mike Pence “ignorant and stupid” last month, briefly jeopardizing the summit meeting. No Kwang-chol became minister of the People’s Armed Forces during a recent reshuffle of the top military leadership.
Kim Yo-jong, Mr. Kim’s only sister, has been an important face of North Korea’s recent diplomatic overtures. Mr. Kim sent her to South Korea in February to invite Mr. Moon to a summit meeting. She is in charge of the party’s Department of Propaganda and Agitation, one of the most powerful agencies in North Korea.
The summit meeting: Breaking it down.
The summit meeting in Singapore is on track after some fraught on-again, off-again moments.
Where will the leaders meet? Who will be there? What’s on the agenda?
We’ve put together a primer to the high-stakes talks that breaks down the key players and the key issues.
The Biggest Reality Show on the Planet
About 2,500 journalists from around the world have registered for official credentials to cover the Trump-Kim summit meeting, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Communications. That might be an understatement — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said closer to 5,000 were in Singapore to document the meeting.
Foreign journalists are working out of a large building usually reserved for Formula One racers and their pit crews. At a Marriott hotel where the White House press corps is stationed, television crews line up along an outside patio, as correspondents give their on-camera reports.
All three of the major American cable news networks are anchoring their nightly news programs from Singapore. North Korean experts are in high demand, with many of them signing contracts to appear as exclusive commentators on the talks.
Camera crews have staked out the St. Regis Hotel, where Mr. Kim is staying, although he eluded the media for most of Monday. In the evening, his entourage left the hotel and the news media frantically tried to figure out where he was going, before catching up to him at another hotel.
As if teasing the world’s journalists, Singapore’s foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, tweeted a selfie with the North Korean leader with the hashtag #guesswhere?
The White House press corps — more than 350 reporters — filed dispatches from two floors of a glitzy ballroom at the Marriott Singapore South Beach, with hundreds of curved metal cylinders hanging from the ceiling. “This is the most dramatic WH press file I’ve been in,” David Nakamura, a reporter for The Washington Post, wrote on Twitter.
Reporters chased anyone they hoped could give them a shred of information. At one point on Sunday, journalists even swarmed one of their own, albeit a reporter from North Korea, who fled to his hotel.
The View from North Korea
While most foreign news outlets began wall-to-wall coverage on Sunday, the North Korean media waited until Monday to report that Mr. Kim had arrived in Singapore a day earlier and met with Singapore’s prime minister.
On social media, analysts reading the tea leaves noted that the Korean Central News Agency, KCNA, had mentioned that Mr. Kim flew to Singapore on a “Chinese plane.”
“By reporting that he landed in Singapore on ‘Chinese plane’ highlights not only historic nature of his journey beyond Korea & #China but also signals to his people that DPRK-Chinese relations have been restored,” tweeted Jean H. Lee, a former Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang and now a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
Perhaps more significantly, KCNA also reported that North Korea’s leader hoped to be “building a permanent and durable peacekeeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula,” as well as “the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual concern.”