Donald Trump to meet Kim on Feb 27-28 in Hanoi for 2nd summit to eliminate potential nuclear threat

Donald Trump has announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb 27-28, for their second summit meeting intended to eliminate a potential nuclear threat

Photo Courtesy: IANS
Photo Courtesy: IANS

IANS/PTI

US President Donald Trump has announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28, for their second high-stakes summit meeting intended to eliminate a potential nuclear threat.

"My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong-un," Trump said in a tweet on Friday night.

"It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim and advancing the cause of peace!"

Trump revealed in his State of the Union address on February 5 that the meeting would be in Vietnam but did not disclose the city or the date, reports The New York Times.

US officials had earlier explored Da Nang, a coastal city where American troops arrived in 1965 for a war that would scar a generation, but the North Koreans were reported to prefer Hanoi since the country has an embassy there.

The meeting will be the second between Trump and Kim after an inaugural get-together last June in Singapore. Trump emerged from that meeting declaring that he had all but resolved the decades-long nuclear dispute and later declared that he and Kim "fell in love".

In another series of tweets also on Friday night, Trump said: "North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse.

"He may surprise some but he won't surprise me, because I have gotten to know him and fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket - an Economic one!"

But while North Korea has refrained from further nuclear and missile tests, it is yet to make any concrete commitment to eliminating its arsenal.

Friday's announcement comes just days after a confidential UN report found that the North Korean nuclear and missile programme remains intact, CNN reported.

Last week, intelligence officials warned that North Korea was "unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability".

The State Department's top negotiator with North Korea, Stephen Biegun, had released a statement earlier on Friday following a meeting in Pyongyang with North Korean officials, but did not mention the location for the summit.

In a statement, the State Department said talks during Stephen Biegun's three-day trip explored Trump and Kim's "commitments of complete denuclearization, transforming US-DPRK relations and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula." Biegun landed at Osan US Air Base late on Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told AFP.

The State Department confirmed Biegun agreed to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol again before the leaders' talks.

North Korea has yet to provide any official confirmation of the summit and Kim Jong Un appeared to make no mention of it during a meeting earlier with the top brass of the Korean People's Army.

As reported by state media, the meeting focused on the need to modernize the military while maintaining party discipline in the ranks.

Biegun is expected to share details of his Pyongyang meetings with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Saturday.

Attention will focus on whether the US team have offered to lift some economic sanctions in return for Pyongyang taking concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Discussions on declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War could also have been on the table, with Biegun last week saying Trump was "ready to end this war." The three-year conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war, with the US keeping 28,500 troops in the South.

The US envoy was also likely to have discussed with his counterpart protocol and security matters for the upcoming Trump-Kim summit.

At their landmark summit in Singapore last year, the mercurial US and North Korean leaders produced a vaguely worded document in which Kim pledged to work towards "the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula." But progress has since stalled, with the two sides disagreeing over what that means.

Experts say tangible progress on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons will be needed for the second summit if it is to avoid being dismissed as "reality TV."

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