Hanoi to host next round of talks between Trump, Kim
Representatives meet, discuss denuclearisation, other issues
WASHINGTON:AS preparations get underway for the upcoming summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the US president called the North Korean premier a “capable” leader who will turn his country into a different kind of “rocket - an economic one”.
Trump announced in a tweet that the long-awaited summit will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27-28. He had declared the dates a few days back, while the venue was announced this time round.
US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, returned home on Friday after holding pre-summit talks with his counterpart, Kim Hyok Chol, in Pyongyang.
Their discussions were focused on “commitments of complete denuclearisation, transforming Us-north Korea relations and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the US state department said.
They will meet again closer to the Trump-kim summit.
After announcing the venue, Trump proceeded to talk it up with a glowing assessment of Kim.
Trump tweeted, “North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket - an Economic one!”
Interestingly, Trump used to call Kim “rocket-man” when they were trading verbal blows, but his tone has been conciliatory and increasingly complimentary of late, especially since the build-up to last year’s historic summit in Singapore.
While Trump has spoken optimistically about getting Pyongyang to denuclearise and give up its missile programmes, US intelligence officials remain sceptical. They have told US lawmakers recently that North Korea is “unlikely to completely” give up its nuclear weapons.
Acknowledging that Pyongyang has not conducted nuclear tests and has dismantled parts of its WMD infrastructure in a year, US intelligence has said in a report, “North Korea retains its WMD capabilities and … it is unlikely to give up all of its WMD stockpiles, delivery systems and production capabilities”.
“North Korean leaders view nuclear arms as critical to regime survival,” the report said.
Though Kim has said that North Korea is not producing any more nuclear weapons, he has not yet said what he plans to do with his existing arsenal.
The Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Us-based think-tank, said in a recent report that experts discovered 20 previously undisclosed missile sites in the country.
File photo taken on June 12, 2018, shows US President Donald Trump (right) with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.