Vietnam’s prime minister has said that his country is willing to host a much-anticipated second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
One of North Korea’s top generals, Kim Yong-chol, was yesterday expected to meet with Trump at the White House to hash out details of a second meeting with Kim, including a potential venue.
The second round of talks follow a historic summit in Singapore last year and are aimed at denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and ending decades of enmity between the two nations.
Vietnam has cropped up in the swirl of rumors and conjecture over a possible site for the meeting, with the capital, Hanoi, or the coastal city of Danang seemingly the most likely bases for the summit.
On Thursday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that he would be open to hosting it.
“We don’t know the final decision. However, if it happens here, we will do our best to facilitate the meeting,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“Vietnam has cooperated well with the US in developing economic and trade relations, as well as in other areas,” he added.
A Vietnamese government source who wished to remain anonymous told reporters that “logistical preparations” were under way for a Trump-Kim summit, although “no official decision” had been made.
“There is lots of work to be done, not only for Danang, but some other locations for the event. The Vietnamese side is ready to host ... but it is not up to us to decide,” the source said.
Like several other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam maintains diplomatic ties with both communist-run Pyongyang and Washington and is keen to host major global events as it tries to project a more confident global profile.
Communist Vietnam last year hosted a major APEC meeting in central Danang attended by global leaders, including Trump.
Hanoi in November last year welcomed North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho for a visit reportedly aimed at sharing lessons from its economic success story.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement earlier this month told reporters that Vietnam “supports constructive efforts to solve disputes through peaceful dialogue ... on the Korean Peninsula in particular.”
Trump has said that he is eager to meet with Kim again after their historic summit in June last year, the first-ever meeting between two sitting leaders from two countries that never formally ended the 1950-1953 Korean War.
The leaders agreed on a vaguely worded statement in which Kim pledged to work toward “the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
However, progress has since stalled, with the two sides disagreeing over what that means.
Kim is hoping for an easing of international sanctions, but the US has insisted on maintaining maximum pressure until Pyongyang moves forward on giving up its nuclear weapons.
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