NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US president Donald Trump have arrived in Singapore ahead of a landmark summit meant to settle a stand-off over Pyongyang’s nuclear bomb arsenal.

A jet carrying Kim landed Sunday afternoon local time amid huge security precautions.

After shaking hands with the Singapore foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, Kim sped through the city’s streets in a large limousine, two North Korean flags fluttering on the bonnet, surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted windows and bound for the luxurious and heavily guarded St Regis Hotel.

Trump touched down in the Asian city-state on Sunday evening and was also greeted by Balakrishnan.

The leaders’ every move will be followed by 3000 journalists who have converged on Singapore in anticipation of the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

The interest is a reflection of the intense global curiosity over Kim’s sudden turn to diplomacy after a series of North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year gave rise to serious fears of war.

The North, many experts believe, could conceivably target the entire US mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles in the not so distant future, and while there is deep scepticism that Kim will give up nuclear weapons, there is hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the US and the North.

Interest in Tuesday’s summit is also a reflection of Kim’s limited appearances on the world stage.

He has only publicly left his country three times since taking power after his father’s death in late 2011 – twice travelling to China and once to the southern part of the Korean demilitarised zone for summits with the leaders of China and South Korea respectively.

The Singapore meeting was initially meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, but the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session.

Pyongyang has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with a reliable security assurance and other benefits.

But many say this is highly unlikely, given how hard it has been for Kim to build his programme and that the weapons are seen as the major guarantee to holding on to his unchecked power.

Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea’s willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country’s warheads and nuclear fuel, much of which is probably kept in a vast complex of underground facilities.

Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea’s reluctance to open its doors to outsiders.

Trump has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty.

North Korea has long demanded such a deal, presumably in part to get US troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea.

China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.

The fighting ended on July 27 1953, but the war technically continues today because instead of a difficult-to-negotiate peace treaty, military officers for the US-led United Nations, North Korea and China signed an armistice that halted the fighting.

The North may see a treaty – and its presumed safety assurances from Washington – as its best way of preserving the Kim family dynasty.

A meeting with Trump will also give Kim recognition that North Korea has long sought, establishing him up as a global player and equal to the US domestically and, internationally, as the leader of a “normal country” worthy of respect.

The ensuing recognition as a “normal country” could then allow sanctions relief, and later, international aid and investment.