2nd Trump-Kim sum­mit will take place in Hanoi

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By Felicia Sonmez and Si­mon Denyer

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced Fri­day that his up­com­ing sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Hanoi, end­ing weeks of spec­u­la­tion over the venue for the two lead­ers’ sec­ond meet­ing.

Trump re­vealed the de­ci­sion in an evening tweet.

“My rep­re­sen­ta­tives have just left North Korea af­ter a very pro­duc­tive meet­ing and an agreed upon time and date for the sec­ond Sum­mit with Kim Jong Un,” Trump said in the tweet. “It will take place in Hanoi, Viet­nam, on Fe­bru­ary 27 & 28. I look for­ward to see­ing Chair­man Kim & ad­vanc­ing the cause of peace!”

Trump an­nounced in his State of the Union ad­dress Tues­day night that he would meet with Kim on Feb. 27 and 28 in Viet­nam. But the ex­act lo­ca­tion re­mained un­cer­tain.

U.S. of­fi­cials had set their sights on the coastal re­sort city Danang, which Trump vis­ited for a re­gional eco­nomic sum­mit two years ago.

The North Kore­ans, mean­while, had been push­ing for Hanoi. The bustling cap­i­tal could af­ford Kim an op­por­tu­nity to hold a sep­a­rate bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Viet­namese lead­er­ship, bol­ster­ing his in­ter­na­tional stand­ing.

In a sec­ond tweet Fri­day night, Trump pre­dicted North Korea “will be­come a dif­fer­ent kind of Rocket — an Eco­nomic one!”

Be­fore their first sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore last year, Trump had long mocked Kim as “Lit­tle Rocket Man.”

“North Korea, un­der the lead­er­ship of Kim Jong Un, will be­come a great Eco­nomic Pow­er­house,” Trump said in the tweet. “He may sur­prise some but he won’t sur­prise me, be­cause I have got­ten to know him & fully un­der­stand how ca­pa­ble he is.”

Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials hope the meet­ing will make progress to­ward North Korean de­nu­cle­ariza­tion ef­forts, though some ex­perts re­main skep­ti­cal.

Stephen E. Biegun, the State Depart­ment’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for North Korea, was in Py­ongyang this week to fi­nal­ize plan­ning with his coun­ter­part, Kim Hyok Chol.

Biegun de­parted Py­ongyang on Fri­day af­ter three days of talks. In a one-para­graph news re­lease, the State Depart­ment said Biegun and his North Korean coun­ter­part plan to meet again ahead of the TrumpKim sum­mit.

Their ne­go­ti­a­tions will in­clude the agenda for the talks and po­ten­tial con­ces­sions both sides could agree to when the lead­ers get to­gether.

On Satur­day, Biegun briefed South Korea’s For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung­wha and other of­fi­cials in Seoul on the out­come of his dis­cus­sions in Py­ongyang. In brief state­ments to the me­dia, Biegun said he had “pro­duc­tive” dis­cus­sions in North Korea, but added: “We have some hard work to do” be­fore the Hanoi sum­mit.



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