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(3rd LD) N. Korean leader Kim arrives in Singapore ahead of N.K.-U.S. summit

All Headlines 18:04 June 10, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more info, photos throughout)

SINGAPORE, June 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un flew into Singapore on Sunday, two days ahead of his planned historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump set to take place in the city-state.

A Boeing 747 Air China flight that carried Kim landed at Changi Airport at 2:36 p.m. (Singapore time) amid tight security as he is scheduled to meet with Trump over the North's denuclearization.

Clad in a Mao-style suit, Kim was welcomed by Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at the airport, a photo uploaded on the minister's Twitter account showed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) shakes hands with Singapore's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan on June 10, 2018, after arriving in the city-state for a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, in this photo captured from Balakrishnan's Twitter account. (Yonhap)

Later in the day, Kim is expected to meet with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Highly tightened security reflected global attention on the upcoming meeting.

Police blocked roads outside Changi's VIP complex hours before Kim's arrival. Security vehicles escorted a motorcade including limousines believed to be carrying Kim to the St. Regis Hotel, where he will be staying during the rare trip.

Trump and Kim are set to hold an unprecedented summit on Tuesday to reach a deal on dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for security guarantees.

The U.S. has called for the North's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, while Pyongyang hopes to get rewards and relief from tough sanctions in the process of its denuclearization.

Trump said Saturday that his upcoming meet with Kim will be a "one-time shot" to do something good for North Korean people.

A motorcade believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen leaving Changi Airport in Singapore on June 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

The historic showdown between a sitting U.S. President and a North Korean leader comes after a cancellation by Trump last month.

Trump abruptly called off the expected summit with Kim last month, citing the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility."

But in a sharp turnaround, preparations for the summit resumed after Kim showed his willingness for a summit with Trump and for denuclearization at a second summit with President Moon Jae-in on May 26.

Kim's trip to Singapore marks his first overseas travel, except to China, since he took office in late 2011. Kim held summits with Chinese President Xi Jinping in March and May ahead of the meeting with Trump.

The North's leader was accompanied by a group of his key aides, including Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) who recently met with Trump in Washington to deliver a letter from Kim.

His entourage also included Ri Su-yong, a vice WPK chairman on international affairs, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

Pyongyang, meanwhile, dispatched three different flights in one day in an apparent attempt to divert attention and keep Kim's travel discreet for security reasons. It sent a cargo plane at dawn, followed by the Chinese jet and then his private plane.

Kim will likely spend the remaining days at the hotel focusing on last-minute preparations with his top officials for Tuesday's summit.

Trump is also on his way to Singapore from Canada after attending the Group of Seven leaders' meeting in Canada from Friday to Saturday. He's expected to land at Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base later in the evening.

An Air China plane believed to have North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on board makes its final approach into Changi Airport in Singapore on June 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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