Trump and Kim kick off second round of nuclear talks in Hanoi

Hanoi (dpa) - US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un kicked off their second summit on Wednesday in Hanoi optimistic that they could build on the progress they made in last year's opening round of talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

The two leaders met privately for around half an hour in a closed-door session at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel before joining their aides for a dinner.

Shortly after greeting one another at the hotel with a handshake for the first time since last June, when they met in Singapore, Trump told Kim in a brief media session: "Your country has tremendous economic potential, unbelievable, unlimited."
It was a theme Trump has repeated again and again in recent days.
"I look forward to watching it happen and to helping make it happen," Trump said.
Turning towards Kim, he added, "It's great to be with you."
Kim praised Trump through an interpreter for his "courageous decision" to initiate dialogue between the two countries and said that their conversation before dinner was "very interesting."
Earlier, Kim acknowledged that "painstaking efforts were necessary and patience was needed" to make this week's summit happen.
Trump predicted that progress would be made in the leaders' second round of talks, saying that while "we had a very successful first summit ... I think this one will hopefully be equal or greater."
Asked if he would declare an end to the Korean War, the US president responded, "We'll see."
But Trump also acknowledged that his critics "would have liked to see it go quicker," referring to those who said that last year's summit made little headway toward nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula.
Trump spent the first part of Wednesday largely pressing the case for North Korea's economic potential, saying that successful denuclearization talks with Kim could help turn North Korea "into a great economic power."
Trump repeatedly pointed to Vietnam's success in transforming its economy as a model for North Korea, saying the South-East Asian country "is thriving like few places on earth."
"North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize," Trump said in a Twitter post early Wednesday.
North Korea's economic potential is "like almost none other in history," the president added.
Vietnam, a single-party state and former US foe that has enjoyed robust economic growth in recent years, offers a vision of what North Korea could become if international sanctions are lifted and it can trade more freely, analysts say.
But first, Trump needs to convince Kim - whom the president referred to as "my friend" earlier Wednesday on Twitter - to give up his nuclear weapons programme.
In a meeting with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday afternoon, Trump said he was optimistic about his talks with Kim, noting that the North Korean leader "wants to do something great also."
Trump criticized media coverage leading up to the summit, calling it "all false reporting (guessing) on my intentions with respect to North Korea."
Trump was joined at Wednesday night's dinner by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Kim brought his top negotiator Kim Yong Chol and Ri Yong Ho‎, North Korea's minister of foreign affairs.
Both sides also brought their own interpreters.
Trump and Kim are expected to hold a second day of meetings starting on Thursday morning.
The North Korean leader had kept a low profile since arriving in Vietnam on Tuesday morning after a three-day overland journey from Pyongyang.
Reporters and onlookers gathered all day Wednesday at the edges of the security perimeter surrounding Melia Hanoi Hotel, where Kim is staying, hoping to catch a glimpse of the North Korean leader's motorcade.


Wednesday, February 27th 2019

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