NATIONAL

Trump, Kim begin summit events

By Choi He-suk

Trump stresses ‘good relationship’ with Kim and North’s economic potential

  • Published : Feb 27, 2019 - 20:31
  • Updated : Feb 27, 2019 - 22:54

HANOI, Vietnam -- US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday kicked off their summit with a one-on-one meeting followed by a dinner in Hanoi.

Trump and Kim, who both arrived in Hanoi a day earlier, met for the first time at 6:28 p.m. at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel. 

US President Donald Trump (Left) shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on Wednesday. (AFP-Yonhap)

The official US-North Korea summit events began with Trump and Kim holding a private meeting, followed by a social dinner with top aides in attendance. 

The dinner carried on for longer than expected, with Kim leaving the venue at about 8:50 p.m.

At the start of the one-on-one meeting, Kim hinted at his frustration at the slow progress since his last meeting with Trump.

“Thinking back, it was a time that required a lot of contemplation, effort and perseverance,” Kim said, adding that despite the obstacles, he and Trump were able to meet again 261 days after their Singapore meeting.

“This time around, I have conviction that great results welcomed by everyone will be obtained and I will do my best.”

Trump responded by saying that it is an honor to meet Kim in Vietnam, and stressed that their first summit was a success, adding that he hopes the Hanoi meeting will be “equal or greater” than the last.

He added that the two sides have made much progress, the biggest of which is his relationship with Kim, He went on to once again stress North Korea’s economic potential.

“I think your country has tremendous economic potential -- unbelievable, unlimited -- and I think you will have a tremendous future with your country, a great leader,” Trump told Kim.

“I look forward to watching it happen, and helping it to happen. And we will help it to happen.”

At the dinner that followed, Trump was accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and an interpreter. Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong-chol, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

Ahead of the meeting, Trump spent the day meeting Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong, and signed a major trade deal involving airline industries of the two countries.

As for Kim, he is set to meet with Vietnamese officials Friday, when he begins the two-day goodwill visit to Vietnam.

Kim spent Wednesday out of public view, apparently remaining inside his hotel throughout the day. Members of the North Korean delegation, including O Su-yong, a vice chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and director of the party’s economic affairs department, visited industrial and tourism spots near Hanoi.

The North Korean leader is believed to have spent the day discussing the summit meeting with his aides, continuing on from the previous day.

Although Kim was rumored to have plans to visit a number of locations in Vietnam, he spent most of Tuesday at his hotel after arriving in Hanoi at about 11 a.m. Kim is said to have been briefed by officials who engaged the US in working-level talks.

Kim’s only itinerary on Tuesday was a brief trip to the North Korean Embassy in Vietnam, where he spent about one hour from 5 p.m., before returning straight back to the hotel. 

By Choi He-suk
Korea Herald correspondent
(cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)



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