Trump thanks Singapore for hospitality and friendship
US President thanks PM Lee for Singapore's role in hosting summit
US President Donald Trump thanked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for Singapore's hospitality and friendship, as he acknowledged the Republic's role in hosting the summit with North Korea today.
The two leaders met for a working lunch yesterday at the Istana, a day before Mr Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella hotel on Sentosa.
Speaking as they tucked in, Mr Trump said: "We have a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely.
"But we appreciate your hospitality and professionalism and your friendship. Thank you very much."
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Mr Trump had also accepted President Halimah Yacob's invitation to make a state visit to Singapore in November to attend the 6th Asean-US Summit and 13th East Asia Summit.
The US president left the Shangri-La Hotel, where he is staying, at about 11.45am in a motorcade of more than 30 vehicles. Curious onlookers lined the streets to take photographs as the convoy made its way to the Istana.
The President is well-prepared for tomorrow’s engagement with Chairman Kim. The US position remains clear and unchanged.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Mr Trump and Mr Lee had a private, one-on-one meeting that lasted about half an hour.
At 12.45pm, they appeared at the banquet hall and shook hands in front of a waiting group of about 30 American and Singaporean journalists, before sitting down to lunch.
The two men last met in October 2017, during Mr Lee's official working visit to Washington at Mr Trump's invitation.
In a statement to the media, the MFA said the two leaders had a good discussion on a wide range of regional and global developments.
The statement added: "Both leaders reaffirmed the excellent relations between Singapore and the US across the economic, defence, and security spheres."
Mr Trump also expressed the US' continued commitment to engage the region and his support for Singapore's chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Mr Trump's delegation at the luncheon included US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Mr Lee's delegation included Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Home and Law Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.
The New Paper understands that the lunch menu included lobster bisque and angus beef tenderloin.
Dr Balakrishnan posted a photo on Facebook which showed the two parties celebrating Mr Trump's birthday early with a large cake. Mr Trump turns 72 on June 14.
After the lunch, Mr Pompeo said the US team is looking forward to the summit tomorrow.
He said: "We have had substantive and detailed meetings to date, including this morning with the North Koreans. The President is well-prepared for tomorrow's engagement with Chairman Kim. The US position remains clear and unchanged."
After his engagement at the Istana, Mr Trump spoke to the staff of the US Embassy here and their families at Shangri-La Hotel.