The island where Trump is set to meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un has a dark past

Jane Onyanga-Omara
The entrance of Sentosa island resorts in Singapore is pictured on June 6, 2018.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

The island on which the luxury resort sits in Singapore that will host President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for their unprecedented summit next week has a dark past.

The 5-star Capella Hotel, located a quarter-mile off the mainland, promises the "tranquility" of Sentosa Island amid the bustle of the "cosmopolitan" city-state, according to the hotel's website.

But Sentosa Island – now home to beaches, luxury hotels, casinos and golf courses – used to be a Japanese camp for British and Australian prisoners-of-war during World War II. Many Singaporean Chinese who were suspected of acting against Japan were also executed there.

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The island was renamed Sentosa, Malay for "peace and tranquility" in 1970, following a competition to come up with a new moniker. Its previous name was Pulau Belakang Mati, meaning "Island After Death."

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders tweeted the location of the long-awaited summit Tuesday. "We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality," she added.

Trump and Kim's summit is scheduled for 9 a.m. local time June 12 (9 p.m. ET June 11), after it was thrown into uncertainty when Trump abruptly canceled it, before negotiations put it back on track.

A U.S. advance team was spotted at the Capella Hotel last week meeting with North Korean officials to prepare for the summit.

On Tuesday evening, workers were painting a fresh coat on the façade, extra security was in place and red carpets were rolled out at the hotel's two entrances.

Trump ultimately wants Kim to give up his nuclear weapons program, though the U.S. president stressed last week that the process for denuclearization would likely take longer than a single meeting.

Officials had also considered the Shangri-La Hotel, which hosts an annual international security summit and was the venue for a 2015 meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

Trump is expected to stay at that hotel, which is near a major shopping district and less secluded than the island facility chosen for his meeting with Kim.