Donald Trump meets Kim Jong-un at Vietnam summit and praises North Korea's 'unlimited' potential
Donald Trump has met Kim Jong-un for the second time at a summit in Vietnam, shaking hands and praising North Korea's "unlimited" economic potential.
The American and North Korean leaders greeted each other before a backdrop of their countries' interwoven flags at a luxury hotel in Hanoi, the Vietnam capital.
The pair shook hands for around 10 seconds, with Mr Trump patting Kim on the back before the men shared a laugh as they posed for photographs.
In opening remarks before a one-on-one conversation due to last for 20 minutes, Mr Trump talked up the possibilities for growth and development in North Korea.
"I think that your country has tremendous economic potential, unbelievable, unlimited," Mr Trump told Kim.
"And I think that you will have a tremendous future with your country, a great leader."
He added: "I look forward to watching it happen and helping it to happen. And we will help it to happen."
Asked by a reporter if the pair might formally end the Korean War during their two-day summit, Mr Trump responded: "We'll see."
Kim said he was "confident of achieving the great results that everyone will welcome".
The leaders are scheduled to have an intimate dinner for six, plus two interpreters, after their one-on-on chat.
The exact location of the dinner is unknown, although earlier in the
day, preparations were reportedly being made in the Le Club Bar, a cocktail lounge which overlooks the hotel’s garden courtyard and is designed to resemble “aristocratic smoking rooms with a hint of 1920s speakeasy.”
At Mr Trump’s side will be Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, and Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief-of-staff. Accompanying Kim Jong-un will be Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s former spy chief and current vice-chair of the central committee of the ruling Workers Party and Ri Yong Ho, the foreign minister.
A source close to the planning of the dinner told CNN that it had been a struggle to get the menu approved by the US and North Korea.
Mr Trump will perhaps have a limited appetite, however, after enjoying a sumptuous lunch five-course lunch with Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Vietnamese prime minister, that included deep-fried spring rolls, grilled cod fish and roasted Wagyu beef medallions.
The US President spent much of the day on courtesy calls to the prime minister and Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s president.
Scores of children waving Vietnam and American flags greeted him with cheers, prompting Mr Trump to cheerfully pluck a Vietnamese flag out of the hands of a little girl to wave it back to the young crowd.
He praised Vietnam’s thriving economy and used his Hanoi visit to sign trade deals which will see more than 100 Boeing jets sold to Vietnamese airlines and support more than 83,000 American jobs, according to a senior US administration official.
Mr Trump revealed very little about the substance of his upcoming talks with Kim Jong-un over nuclear disarmament, choosing instead to take aim at the media for misjudging his strategy in a cryptic tweet about two hours before shaking hands with Kim.
“All false reporting (guessing) on my intentions with respect to North Korea. Kim Jong Un and I will try very hard to work something out on Denuclearization & then making North Korea an Economic Powerhouse. I believe that China, Russia, Japan & South Korea will be very helpful!” he said.
The comment reflected the US president’s ongoing hope that Kim may be willing to give up his nuclear arsenal, and any means of production and distribution of the weapons, in return for sanctions relief and support in North Korea’s economic development.
During his meeting with Vietnam’s leaders, Mr Trump emphasised his message that North Korea could learn from Vietnam’s model of rapid economic development.
“I got off of Air Force One last night and I drove down the boulevards and I saw all the buildings under construction and how Vietnam is thriving,” he said during a meeting with Vietnam’s president.
Mr Trump said that he had a “very big dinner” with Kim coming up, adding: “We both felt very good about having this very important summit in Vietnam because you really are an example of what can happen with good thinking.”
Kim is believed to have spent the day preparing for the high-stakes talks at the luxurious five-star Melia hotel, although some of his key aides, including Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the party’s central committee, took a cruise ride in Halong Bay, a major tourist attraction, and visited factories in the port city of Hai Phong.
The group also reportedly included O Su Yong, director of economic affairs at North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. Experts say Mr O’s inclusion in the high-level delegation indicates Kim’s focus on economic priorities and an expectation of partial sanctions relief.