Tue, Jan 22, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Next Trump-Kim summit expected to be in Vietnam


US officials are planning for US President Donald Trump hold his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month in Vietnam, people familiar with the plans said, suggesting negotiations for the meeting were gathering pace.

The late-February summit would probably take place in Hanoi, but Danang — the site of the 2017 APEC meeting — and Ho Chi Minh City have also been considered, the people said.

The details came to light as nuclear envoys for the US, North Korea and South Korea held talks at a resort outside Stockholm, the Associated Press reported, citing the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Bloomberg News on Thursday that his nation would be happy to host the meeting if chosen.

The White House announced on Friday that Trump would meet Kim late next month, following a 90-minute meeting between the president and Kim Yong-chol, one of the North Korean leader’s top aides, who also met separately with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

“Great meeting this week with top Reps,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “Looking forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at the end of February!”

Neither the administration nor the North Koreans offered much else after Friday’s meetings about what they had agreed to and what would be gained from the planned summit.

That only raised more questions because so little progress has been made toward the US’s ultimate goal — getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons — since the first summit.

In an interview with the Sinclair Broadcast Group that aired on Sunday, Pompeo stressed the need to “reduce” Kim Jong-un’s nuclear capacity, without mentioning his previously stated goal of the “final fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”

“We now need to execute. We need to implement. We’ve always known this would be a long process,” Pompeo said, citing Kim Jong-un’s decision to halt weapons tests as evidence of the administration’s success. “These are things that were threatening the United States when President Trump took office. We want to reduce that risk, reduce North Korea’s capacity to build out their program.”

Meanwhile, the Swedish ministry said that the Special US Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui and South Korean nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon were attending “small-format” talks hosted by the Swedish government and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Associated Press reported.

While Sweden did not disclose the venue or schedule of the meeting, the Yonhap New Agency of South Korea said the negotiations entered a second day on Sunday at a resort in a Stockholm suburb. The TT News Agency of Sweden said the talks were taking place at a conference center on Lake Malaren, northwest of the city, and would last until today.

The US does not have diplomatic ties with North Korea and relies on Sweden, one of the few Western nations with an embassy in Pyongyang, to represent its interests.

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