Date
20 July 2019
Hanoi prepares for the summit: A banner with images of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hangs at a South Korean restaurant; inset:  a girl stands next to a woman selling Trump-Kim t-shirts. Photo: Reuters
Hanoi prepares for the summit: A banner with images of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hangs at a South Korean restaurant; inset: a girl stands next to a woman selling Trump-Kim t-shirts. Photo: Reuters

Trump heads for Kim summit but says no rush to reach deal

US President Donald Trump headed for Vietnam on Monday for a second summit with Kim Jong-un, having stressed the benefits to Pyongyang if the North Korean leader gives up his nuclear weapons, but saying there was no rush.

Trump and Kim are due to meet in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Wednesday and Thursday, eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

While there is no real expectation that the second meeting will bring a final deal on ridding North Korea of nuclear weapons that threaten the United States, there are some hopes it could bring a declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is at last formally over. The war ended with an armistice, not a truce.

In Singapore, Kim pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but the vague agreement struck there has produced few concrete results. US Democratic senators and security officials have warned Trump against cutting a deal that would do little to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Trump left for Vietnam aboard Air Force One from Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington shortly after 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT) on Monday. He is due to arrive in Hanoi on Tuesday evening, local time.

Kim was making his way to Vietnam by train and passed through the Chinese city of Hengyang at about 3:30 p.m. local time (0730 GMT), South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported. That would have him arriving in Vietnam early on Tuesday.

Speaking in Washington on Sunday, Trump said he believed he saw eye-to-eye with Kim and that they had developed “a very, very good relationship”.

In a tweet on Monday, he stressed the benefits to North Korea if it gave up its nuclear weapons. “With complete Denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!” Trump said.

Trump told reporters he and Kim would have “a very tremendous summit”.

“We want denuclearization, and I think he’ll have a country that will set a lot of records for speed in terms of an economy,” Trump said.

However, in a speech on Sunday night, Trump appeared to play down any hope of a major breakthrough at the Hanoi summit, saying he would be happy as long as North Korea maintained its pause on weapons testing.

“I’m not in a rush. I don’t want to rush anybody,” he said. “I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy.”

North Korea conducted its last nuclear test in September 2017 and last tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017. Reuters

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CG

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