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Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
The next U.S.-North Korea summit scheduled to take place February 27-28 in Vietnam will be held in the capital Hanoi, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet Friday evening from Washington.
The announcement comes after Trump confirmed Vietnam as the host country for the summit during his State of the Union address last Tuesday, and follows days of speculation over the precise location, thought to be either Hanoi or Danang.
“My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un,” Trump said in the tweet Friday, naming Hanoi and repeating “February 27 & 28” for the two-day event.
“I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!” he added.
My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un. It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
Trump reiterated in a subsequent tweet his belief that “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!” he said.
The representatives Trump mentioned were U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and his team, who left Pyongyang on Friday.
A State Department memo released just hours before Trump’s announcement said Biegun held discussions with DPRK Special Representative for U.S. Affairs of the State Affairs Commission Kim Hyok Chol in Pyongyang during a three-day trip to Pyongyang.
It did not mention details of their discussions beyond saying the two were working to advance bilateral relations and the commitments made by Trump and Kim Jong Un at their first summit in Singapore last June.
It also did not say whether the two discussed planning for the upcoming Vietnam summit, though Trump’s tweet now confirms one item on their agenda was indeed nailing down a precise location within the country to hold the event.
The coastal city of Danang was previously thought by some to be the preferred location, with one expert telling NK News earlier this week Hanoi could be a “nightmare for security.”
Biegun is scheduled to meet his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon and foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha Saturday morning in Seoul to discuss the results of his team’s meetings in Pyongyang.
The State Department also said following Biegun’s trip that he will meet his counterpart Kim Hyok Chol again later this month before the summit in Hanoi.
Featured image: Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES