WASHINGTON -- The United States is not paying for North Korean officials to stay in Singapore for next week's summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the State Department said Tuesday.
Paying for accommodation is certain to be a strain for the impoverished nation, with Kim reportedly planning to stay at a luxurious hotel such as the Fullerton or the St. Regis.
"The United States government is not paying for the North Korean delegation to stay," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a regular press briefing. "We're not paying for their expenses."
The White House earlier announced that the first meeting will begin at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island at 9 a.m. next Tuesday.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert (Reuters)
At the heart of the summit is whether, and in what detail, Trump and Kim will agree to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for security guarantees for the regime.
Trump has said he and Kim could also declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
"I don't want to speculate on the timing or what may or may not happen," Nauert said. "I know that that's something that the president and this administration certainly supports."
She refused to discuss the possibility that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will join Trump and Kim in Singapore for such a declaration.
"I can tell you we constantly are in conversation with the government of South Korea as we are with Japan as well," the spokeswoman said. "A trip to Singapore to my knowledge has not come up but I'd have to refer you back to the government of South Korea."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Washington earlier in the day and "expressed appreciation" for the city-state's willingness to host the summit, according to an official readout.
Pompeo has also been receiving briefings, sometimes multiple times a day, from Amb. Sung Kim, who has been leading a US delegation to pre-summit negotiations with North Korea on the inter-Korean border, Nauert said. (Yonhap)