About the Authors
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump will hold their second summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang on February 28, a source with knowledge of ongoing discussions between Washington and Pyongyang told NK News on Wednesday.
The summit location was formally agreed to by DPRK and U.S. officials during high-level meetings in Washington DC last month, the source added.
U.S. outlet Politico earlier in the day reported that Trump had told a group of TV anchors that he will meet with Kim Jong Un for a second summit in Vietnam between February 27 and 28.
Official confirmation is expected to come either just before or during the President’s annual State of the Union address to Congress, due to start at 2100 EST.
The meeting, should it go ahead, will be the second between a sitting U.S. President and a North Korean leader in history.
The two men previously met in Singapore on June 12 last year, in a summit widely seen as heavy on symbolism and light on substance.
U.S. officials are expected to use the upcoming meeting to press North Korea to take more concrete steps towards denuclearization, while Pyongyang is likely to use the meeting to ask for “corresponding measures” in the form of some relief from international sanctions.
Speculation over the location of the summit has centered around Vietnam for weeks, with the White House confirming just after meetings with top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in Washington last month they expected it to take place in late February.
It is also possible the North Korean leader will make an official state visit to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi prior to the meeting in Danang between Trump and Kim, as reports have suggested in recent weeks.
North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho traveled to Hanoi last November, where the Vietnamese foreign minister said his country was willing to “make practical contributions to the dialogue process between the DPRK and the sides concerned.”
The summit is also likely to prompt further speculation that North Korea may be willing to take on reforms similar to those Vietnam made starting in the late 1980s.
— EAP Bureau (@USAsiaPacific) February 5, 2019
The news comes as U.S. Special Representative Stephen Biegun heads to the North Korean capital on Wednesday morning, where he is expected to hold high-profile talks with his DPRK counterpart.
The visit is Biegun’s second in a year, having previously travelled to Pyongyang with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last October.
South Korean media earlier in the day reported that Biegun would fly from the U.S.’s Osan air base south of Seoul, and he is set to hold talks with North Korean official Kim Hyok Chol on, among other issues, a planned upcoming DPRK-U.S. summit.
It is unclear whether he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The State Department on Tuesday said the two would use the talks to “prepare” for the summit as well as “advance further progress on the commitments” the two leaders made at their first summit in Singapore last June.
Among these are plans for “transforming U.S.-DPRK relations,” the statement added.
Featured image: Pixabay