While the United States and North Korea mull over the locations to host an anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, a source with knowledge of the decision has revealed that the choices have come down to either Singapore or Mongolia.
The source who spoke to South Korean daily newspaper JoongAng Ilbo noted that the US and North Korea are holding final negotiations between the Southeast Asian city-state and Mongolia.
“European countries such as Switzerland and Sweden were mentioned up until now, but they have been excluded because it was determined to be difficult for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to physically get there,” JoongAng Ilbo quoted the source to say.
This would be due to the technological limitation of the North Korean leader’s plane — a converted Soviet-era aircraft that probably can’t fly across the Pacific. Kim does own a fleet of operational (but old) planes, but most can only fly on a short range.
The man could, of course, hitch a ride with help from other nations or make stops to refuel his plane, but both options would be embarrassing highlights.
“North Korea hasn’t let go of its attachment to holding the summit in Pyongyang, but in the case where the United States doesn’t want this at all, it has come around to the idea of reviewing Mongolia as a location,” the source revealed.
Another source close to the White House, however, noted that President Trump wants to have a glamorous location for the historic summit, and “Mongolia could be a choice that does not satisfy Trump”, reported JoongAng Ilbo.
Singapore maintains friendly but neutral relations with both North Korea and the United States, and the distance between Pyongyang and the city-state is 4,700 kilometers — well within the range of Kim’s Chammae-1, which can only fly stably for up to around 5,000 kilometers.
Trump and Kim are expected to meet either in May or June, and the decision to hold the location could be reached as early as this week.