North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump met for a second day of talks at the Hanoi Metropole hotel on Thursday, with a joint statement by the two leaders expected to come early this afternoon.
The two leaders met at 0855, holding a one-on-one bilateral meeting followed by an expanded round of talks between top officials from both sides beginning at 0945.
In initial comments as the meeting began, Trump told the DPRK leader that it was “great to be with you again” and that he believed “over the years we’ll be together a lot.”
“I think very importantly the relationship is just very strong, and when you have a good relationship, a lot of good things happen,” the President said.
“I know we’re going to have a fantastic success with respect to Chairman Kim and North Korea, they’re going to have an economic powerhouse.”
The U.S. President also appeared to dial down expectations for the summit, saying he was in “no rush.”
“I’ve been saying very much from the beginning that speed is not that important to me,” he said, telling Kim Jong Un he “very much appreciate[s] no testing of nuclear rocket missiles… very much appreciate it.”
“I have great respect for Chairman Kim, and I have great respect for his country, and I believe it will be something economically that will be almost hard to compete with for many countries, it has such potential.”
In response, the North Korean leader said “many people would have expectations” about their meeting, saying the two are already having “a great time.”
“Some people who have a pessimistic perspective on our meeting might see us sitting face-to-face and having an excellent time as like a scene from a fiction movie,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of efforts consistently… I think it is high time to demonstrate [the product of our efforts].”
Asked by the Washington Post‘s David Nakamura what he expected from today’s meeting, he said “I do not make a prejudgement on the result of the meeting.”
“My intuition tells me a good outcome will come out,” he continued, in the North Korean leader’s first-ever response to a question from a foreign reporter.
When asked to say more by the U.S. President, the DPRK leader said: “Time is precious for us.”
The sides are set to convene for a working lunch at 1155 — with a Joint Agreement signing ceremony set to take place at 1405.
The U.S. President will then hold a press conference at 1550, likely at the JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi, where he is staying this week. He will then depart Hanoi at 1805.
Today’s talks represent the second round of meetings between the DPRK leader and the U.S. President this week, with the two having first met last night for a one-on-one meeting and a “social dinner.”
The meeting represents the second between the two leaders in less than a year, coming eight-and-a-half months after their first meeting at Singapore’s Sentosa hotel in June last year.
Questions remain, however, over how much will be able to be achieved on the critical issue of denuclearization, with a source on Wednesday telling NK News that working-level talks on the issue had not led to any agreement between the two sides.
Another source told NK News that today’s Joint Statement is likely to reaffirm commitments made in Singapore last year, with the addition of a new focus on the DPRK pursuing a “brighter future.”
President Trump alluded to this in comments made during his meeting with Kim on Wednesday, telling the DPRK leader that “your country has tremendous economic potential.”
“And I think that you will have a tremendous future with your country, a great leader, and I look forward to watching it happen, and helping it to happen, and we will help it to happen,” he added.
Kim Jong Un then told Trump that since their first summit, he had been through a time in which “I agonized… and have more patience than at any time.”
“I am confident that such a great outcome will come out this time which can be welcomed by everyone, and I will do my best to this end,” he said.
That initial meeting was not without controversy, however, with the White House having reportedly excluded reporters from the LA Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, and AP from the subsequent dinner amid “sensitivities over shouted questions,” according to the Washington Post.
Following Wednesday evening’s talks, President Trump hailed his “great meetings and dinner tonight in Vietnam with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.”
“Very good dialogue,” he tweeted. “Resuming tomorrow!”
North Korean state media this morning, too, praised the summit, with reports in the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) saying the two leaders had held a “candid and honest dialogue.”
DPRK media has since the leader’s departure been excitedly reporting news of the upcoming summit.
“But I am on my way to work because I want to contribute my part to making Supreme Leader happy.”
Additional reporting by Colin Zwirko and Dagyum Ji
Featured image: VNA