Kim Trump summit: Leaders in day of nuclear talks in Vietnam


US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un have begun a crucial final day of talks in Vietnam on nuclear disarmament.

Little progress has been made towards denuclearisation since a first historic summit last year. All eyes are on what if any concrete steps will be agreed.

“There’s no rush. We want to do the right deal,” Mr Trump said alongside Mr Kim ahead of their meeting.

Mr Kim said he had a feeling that “good results” would be reached.

Although they are expected to discuss a roadmap for removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, a number of other options could also be on the table, which either side could claim as a victory.

Why a second summit?

The first summit last June in Singapore between two leaders who had previously only exchanged vitriol was certainly a historic moment. Now, they are both very conscious of the need to answer their critics with signs of concrete progress.

Washington had previously said North Korea had to unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons before there could be any sanctions relief, but that condition is known to be a sticking point for the North Koreans.

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Speaking side by side ahead of their talks, Mr Trump said he had “great respect” for Mr Kim and that their relationship was “very strong”. He repeated that North Korea could be “an economic powerhouse” if the talks went well.

Mr Trump appeared to again address scepticism about the success of the last summit and the pace of progress: “I’ve been saying it from the beginning. Speed is not that important to me.”

Meanwhile, in what is believed to be his first ever response to a foreign journalist’s question, Mr Kim said: “It’s early to tell, but from my instincts, I do have a feeling that good results will emerge.”

On Wednesday, as they met for dinner, they both shared warm words – Mr Trump hailed Mr Kim as a “great leader” and was flattered as “courageous” in return.

The pair dined on US sirloin steak and pear kimchi, and were joined by their chief advisers, Kim Yong Chol for Mr Kim and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – a show of camaraderie ahead of Thursday’s talks.

How will the day of talks unfold?

The leaders are due to hold a series of meetings at the Metropole hotel in Hanoi which will begin with another one-on-one session lasting 45 minutes, according to the White House.

A “joint agreement signing ceremony” will be held at the end of the meetings and Mr Trump is scheduled to give a news conference at 15:50 local time (08:50 GMT).

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It is not clear what the joint agreement will include although there have been working level talks between North Korea and the US in recent weeks.

So what should we expect?

The tone of the talks was set on Wednesday night when Mr Trump described Mr Kim as a “great leader” and said he looked forward to helping him achieve a “tremendous” economic future for North Korea.

Mr Kim said he was confident there would be an “excellent outcome that everyone welcomes”. Analysts have long warned that full denuclearisation is very unlikely but speculation on what we should look out for includes:

  • Any concrete signs of progress on nuclear disarmament such as an agreement from North Korea to disclose details of its nuclear weapons programme
  • Any agreement on dismantling elements of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in the North
  • This could be in exchange for paving the way for the easing of sanctions
  • The possibility of a peace declaration putting a symbolic end to the Korean War
  • Further agreements on issues like the return of Korean war remains or possibly even liaison offices

What do we know about North Korean reaction?

North Korean state media have praised Mr Kim for making the 4,000km (2,500-mile) trip, with state paper Rodong Sinmun dedicating four out of its six pages to it.

It said North Koreans had reacted to his visit with “boundless excitement and emotion”, and urged people to work harder to “give him reports of victory when he returns”.

The paper also added that his overseas trip had caused some of its citizens sleepless nights, with one woman telling a state broadcaster that she “really missed” Mr Kim.

But experts are quick to warn that one notable absence from the negotiating table is that of human rights in North Korea.

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