U.S. President Donald Trump and the DPRK’s Kim Jong Un, leaders of two nations with a long history of hostilities, opened their second summit Wednesday with smiles, hopeful talk and a friendly dinner that will set the stage for more difficult talks to come about curbing the DPRK’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Facing widespread skepticism about what they can achieve, the two men exchanged a warm handshake before disappearing for a private, 30-minute pre-dinner chat.
“A lot of things are going to be solved I hope,” Trump said as dinner commenced. “I think it will lead to a wonderful, really a wonderful situation long-term.”
Kim, for his part, said that his country had been “misunderstood” and viewed with “distrust.”
“There have been efforts, whether out of hostility or not, to block the path that we intend to take,” he said. “But we have overcome all these and walked toward each other again and we’ve now reached Hanoi after 261 days” since their first meeting in Singapore.
“We have met again here and I am confident that we can achieve great results that everyone welcomes.”
Asked if this summit would yield a political declaration to end the Korean War, Trump told reporters: “We’ll see.”
BROADCAST COVERAGE OF MEETING BY CGTN
The two leaders were joined for an intimate dinner by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Kim Yong Chol, a former military spy chief and Kim’s point man in negotiations, and DPRK Foreign Affairs Minister Ri Yong Ho. Interpreters for each side also attended.
Trump has been trying to convince Kim that his nation could thrive economically like the host country, Vietnam, if he would end his nuclear weapons program.
“I think that your country has tremendous economic potential — unbelievable, unlimited,” Trump said. “I think that you will have a tremendous future with your country — a great leader — and I look forward to watching it happen and helping it to happen.”
The summit venue, the colonial and neoclassical Sofitel Legend Metropole in the old part of Hanoi, came with a dose of history: Trump was trying to talk Kim into giving up his nuclear arsenal at a hotel with a bomb shelter that protected the likes of actress Jane Fonda and singer Joan Baez from American air raids during the Vietnam War.
Trump and Kim first met last June in Singapore, a summit that was long on historic pageantry but short on any enforceable agreements for the DPRK to give up its nuclear arsenal.
Story by The Associated Press