US President Donald Trump's arrival came just hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un landed in the ultra-modern city-state on his longest trip overseas as head of state. The two are set to meet at Capella Sentosa Island Resort on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump waves upon his arrival at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore, before his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on June 10, 2018.
US President Donald Trump waves upon his arrival at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore, before his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on June 10, 2018. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday for a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that could lay the groundwork for ending a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and the transformation of the isolated state.

Trump flew into Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base aboard Air Force One looking to strike a deal that will lead to the denuclearisation of one of America’s bitterest foes, following a divisive meeting in Canada with some of Washington’s closest allies that further strained global trade ties.

After stepping down from Air Force One on a steamy tropical night, Trump was greeted by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

TRT World's Jon Brain has more from from Singapore.

Trump feels "very good"

Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Trump said: "Very good". 

He then got into his limousine for a drive to the Shangri-La Hotel in central Singapore, where he'll be staying.

When Trump and Kim meet on Tuesday at the 5-star Capella Sentosa Hotel located on a resort island off Singapore's port with a Universal Studios theme park and man-made beaches, they will be making history.

The Capella Hotel, the venue for the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa.
The Capella Hotel, the venue for the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa. (Reuters)

Enemies since the 1950-53 Korean War, leaders of North Korea and the United States have never met previously - or even spoken over the telephone.

Kim arrived at Singapore's Changi Airport after his longest trip overseas as head of state, wearing his trademark dark "Mao suit" and distinctive high cut hairstyle.

Kim, arriving on a plane loaned by China, was also greeted by Balakrishnan.

Travelling with Kim were top officials including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Kim Yong-chol, a close aide of Kim who has been instrumental in the diplomacy that culminated in the Tuesday summit.

Kim Jong-un's younger sister, was also spotted in his delegation. She emerged as an influential figure in Pyongyang's opaque leadership in February, when she led a North Korean delegation to the winter Olympics in South Korea.

Officials who arrived with Trump include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

"Entire world is watching"

Kim met Lee shortly after his arrival, driving from the St. Regis Hotel where is staying, through the famous Orchard Road shopping district, which was closed off for his tightly guarded motorcade.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore, on June 10, 2018 ahead of an historic summit with US President Donald Trump.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un shakes hands with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore, on June 10, 2018 ahead of an historic summit with US President Donald Trump. (Reuters)

"The entire world is watching the historic summit between (North Korea) and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts ... we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit," Kim told Lee through an interpreter.

At the hotel lobby, grim-faced North Korean security guards warned other hotel guests not to take pictures as Kim walked to his Mercedes Benz limousine.

The St Regis hotel in Singapore.
The St Regis hotel in Singapore. (Reuters)

In his first public comments since arriving, Kim said Singapore's role would be recorded in history if the summit was a success.

Trump is due to meet Lee on Monday.

Security personnel patrol outside Shangri-la Hotel ahead of US President Donald Trump's stay here for a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Sentosa resort on June 12, 2018.
Security personnel patrol outside Shangri-la Hotel ahead of US President Donald Trump's stay here for a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Sentosa resort on June 12, 2018. (Reuters)

High stakes diplomacy

At stake at the summit are North Korea's nuclear weapons and peace on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea spent decades developing nuclear weapons, culminating in the test of a thermonuclear device in 2017. 

It also successfully tested missiles that can reach the US mainland.

The tests came amid a campaign of "maximum pressure" on North Korea, led by the US, that tightened economic sanctions and the possibility of military action.

The two leaders exchanged insults as fears of war grew.

But then in a New Year's address, Kim sounded a conciliatory note, saying his country had completed development of its nuclear programme and would focus on economic development.

He also suggested a meeting with South Korea.

After a flurry of contacts between the two Koreas, South Korean officials suggested to Trump in March that Kim would be willing to meet face-to-face.

The summit comes after weeks of sometimes-contentious discussions and was briefly cancelled amid North Korean outrage over messaging from some US advisers.

Many remain sceptical Kim will ever completely abandon his nuclear programme. 

They believe his latest engagement is aimed at getting the United States to ease the crippling sanctions that have squeezed the impoverished country.

For Trump, a successful summit will see him achieve badly needed recognition on the international stage ahead of congressional elections in November.

Believed to be 34, Kim is one of the youngest heads of state in the world and looks an unlikely candidate to be making history of the kind that has eluded his father and grandfather, both past leaders of North Korea.

But since taking power in 2011 after his father's death, the youthful Kim has displayed a mixture of ruthlessness, pragmatism and statecraft to get this prize: to sit across the table with the leader of the United States and be treated as an equal.

The two leaders meet at 9am (0100 GMT) on Tuesday at the Capella Sentosa Hotel on Sentosa island, a refurbished British Army artillery mess that is one of Singapore's most expensive hotels.

A source involved in the planning of Kim's trip said he was scheduled to leave Singapore at 2pm on Tuesday.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies