US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would hold his long-awaited second summit with North Korea’s Kim on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.
“As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” he told Congress in his State of the Union address.
“Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months.
The president said much work remained to be done, but hailed his relationship with Kim as “a good one.”
“If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea,” he continued.
What both sides want
Trump met North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol in January at the White House, where the two discussed plans for the second summit.
Washington’s goal for the talks is for Pyongyang to agree to give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea says it is seeking the removal of a “nuclear threat” from the US military forces in South Korea.
The pair held their first summit in Singapore in June, the first time a sitting US president has met a North Korean leader.
Since then, there has been little sign that North Korea is on the path to denuclearization, although US officials say missile and nuclear testing has stopped.
Post-summit negotiations have been rocky, with North Korea insisting that UN sanctions against Pyongyang should first be removed before it gets rid of nuclear warheads. Bipartisan relations between South and North Korea have also been improving with an increasing level of cooperation.
Why Vietnam as a venue?
Vietnam, like North Korea, has a history of conflict with the US. However, Hanoi and Washington now have friendly relations — in part thanks to Vietnam’s place as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.
Vietnam is one of only a limited number of countries with which North Korea enjoys good relations. The two have diplomatic ties that date back to 1950, and North Korea sent air force personnel to then-North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The country is relatively close for Kim, who normally travels by train, to visit by plane. Security is tight, even at normal times, and authorities will be in careful control of media access and crowds.
rc/amp (dpa, AFP)
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