Trump-Kim summit: Media scuffle as US, North Korean negotiators meet

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
North Korean official Choe Sun Hui arrives at Ritz Carlton Hotel for a working-level meeting with U.S. officials in Singapore June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

A media scuffle broke out outside The Ritz-Carlton hotel on Monday (11 June) after a meeting between US and North Korean negotiators ahead of the Trump-Kim summit.

Dozens of reporters and cameramen mobbed North Korean chief negotiator Choe Son Hui as she left the hotel amid pushing and shoving. Many of the assembled journalists rushed forward, knocking over poles and stools.

About a dozen hotel staff struggled to restore order even as Choe remained stony-faced on the way into her vehicle. They repeatedly asked the assembled media to step back from the driveway but were largely ignored.

About 15 minutes later, hotel staff formed a cordon at the hotel entrance as US ambassador to Philippines Sung Kim left the hotel.

While the process was slightly more orderly, the journalists mobbed Kim’s vehicles. A cameraman was also heard yelling profanities in Korean.

Kim and Choe held a two-hour meeting in a late attempt to make progress on differences between the two sides, ahead of Tuesday’s meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island.

While the two leaders are hoping to hammer out the framework of a denuclearisation deal for the Korean peninsula, the US and North Korea have yet to agree on what exactly denuclearisation would entail.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also in Singapore, said in a tweet that Washington is “committed to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

Historically, Pyongyang has wanted the US to remove its “nuclear umbrella” protecting South Korea and Japan.

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