Hanoi to host next round of talks be­tween Trump, Kim

THE N-WORD Rep­re­sen­ta­tives meet, dis­cuss de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion, other is­sues

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - WORLD - Yash­want Raj yash­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

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.

AFP

File photo taken on June 12, 2018, shows US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump (right) with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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