US President Donald Trump said he had “very good dialogue” with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday – day one of their second summit on North Korean denuclearization.
The two heads of state kicked off the Vietnam summit with smiles, hopeful talk and a friendly dinner.
They are expected to hold a “joint agreement signing ceremony” on Thursday, according to a White House itinerary. The details of these agreements are not yet known.
“A lot of things are going to be solved I hope,” Trump said at the dinner. “I think it will lead to a wonderful, really a wonderful situation long-term.”
Kim 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,” referring to their first meeting in Singapore.
“I am confident that we can achieve great results that everyone welcomes.”
Ahead of talks, Trump expressed his believe that there was “awesome” potential and “great opportunity” for North Korea if it committed to denuclearization.
“Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“The potential is awesome, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un,” Trump continued, adding that “we will know very soon.”
Trump is traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Kim brought bring Kim Yong Chol, his chief interlocutor with the US and North Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho.
Trump has so far made little progress in getting North Korea to agree to get rid of its weapons programs, but his relationship with Kim is unprecedented for a world leader.
Read more: Stakes are high for US to show progress on North Korea
He is also using economic incentives that are much sought after by North Korea to try to bolster denuclearization efforts, following 70 years of hostility between the two countries.
Trump said late last year he and Kim “fell in love,” and on the eve of his departure for the second summit said they had developed “a very, very good relationship.”
South Korea on Wednesday appeared to relax its expectations of the meeting between Trump and Kim, saying any progress made in Hanoi would be a positive development.
Government spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said it would be unfair to call the summit a failure if it fell short of making “big deals,” saying “small deals” can be keys that open up bigger agreements later. “A thousand-mile journey begins with the first step,” he said.
AFP, AP, Reuters