SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday will kick off a potentially lengthy diplomatic process to try to resolve the standoff over Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. A look at how diplomacy took shape this year:
Jan. 1: After an unusually provocative 2017 during which North Korea tested a purported thermonuclear warhead and three intercontinental ballistic missiles, Kim tries to initiate diplomacy in his annual New Year’s address. He calls for improved relations and engagement with South Korea, though adds that he has a nuclear button on his desk. Trump responds on Twitter that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button, adding “and my Button works!”
Jan. 9: North and South Korean officials meet at a border village and agree on North Korea sending athletes and delegates to the Winter Olympics in the South. Hundreds of North Koreans go to the Pyeongchang Games in February, including Kim’s sister, who conveys her brother’s desire for an inter-Korean summit with South Korea’s president.
March 7: South Korea’s presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong visits Kim in Pyongyang and reports that Kim is willing to discuss the fate of his nuclear arsenal with the United States.
April 18: Trump confirms that Mike Pompeo, then the CIA chief, had met Kim secretly in North Korea and said “a good relationship was formed” heading into the anticipated summit.
April 21: North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and ICBM tests and plans to close its nuclear test site as part of a shift in its national focus to developing its economy. Trump tweets: “This is very good news for North Korea and the World.”Kim meets Xi again in China and calls for stronger strategic cooperation between the traditional allies.May 9: Pompeo, now U.S. secretary of state, makes another visit to Pyongyang to prepare for the planned Trump-Kim summit. North Korea releases three Americans who