United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have kicked off their much-anticipated summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday.
The two world leaders met up for a “social dinner” at Hanoi’s historic five-star Metropole hotel, with Trump saying that it was “an honor to be with Chairman Kim” and an honor for both men to be together. As reported by The Daily Mail, they shook hands before the media before heading for brief talks, followed by dinner. The U.S. president did much of the initial talking, hailing their previous summit as a “great success,” and adding that he hopes this one will be “equal or greater.”
Sitting across each other while being photographed by the media, the two men smiled as they exchanged a handshake in what is their first meeting since their unprecedented summit in Singapore last June.
“I think that your country has tremendous economic potential. Unbelievable. Unlimited,” Trump stated.
Trump also predicted some progress during his upcoming meal with Kim, and even dubbed the North Korean figure as “my friend.” Furthermore, he made sure to compliment Vietnam’s hospitality at the start of the two-day summit in Hanoi, saying that they “really rolled out the red carpet.”
Trump and Kim are expected to discuss plans for ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons, a subject that was addressed at their summit last year but has shown very little progress ever since the historic Singapore meeting. On Wednesday morning, the U.S. president wrote in a tweet that Vietnam’s economy is thriving and that North Korea could follow their footsteps “very quickly if it would denuclearize.”
This time, both leaders are expected to expand and build on the groundwork of what they previously discussed, with the focus being on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, as many of their critics have been waiting for signs of concrete progress.
"This is absolutely stunning," says @JoeLockhart about President Trump's dinner with Kim Jong Un at the second Trump-Kim summit. "He is sitting next to a murderous thug ... he is treating him like he is a personal friend." https://t.co/yGmqAVl5PO pic.twitter.com/Ty4yYxl7bF— New Day (@NewDay) February 27, 2019
“Hopefully great things will happen later on,” Donald Trump said on Wednesday as he met with the president of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong.
Trump also praised America’s relationship with Vietnam and announced a new deal to have Vietnamese airlines buy U.S.-made airplanes. Other agreements between the two countries would bring the value of their deals to a total of $21 billion, The Daily Mail reported.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un appeared relaxed and friendly as they began a social dinner today in Hanoi. "Our relationship is a very special relationship," Trump said. https://t.co/12UPTKiFrs pic.twitter.com/mO0CBC7Fqq— CNN (@CNN) February 27, 2019
Vietnam was picked to be the host country as it has diplomatic relations with both the U.S. and North Korea, and it could serve as an example to what Kim’s nation can achieve if it opens up its doors to foreign investment. Vietnam is also a communist country, but it has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia in the past few decades. And while Trump has said he doesn’t want to “rush anybody,” Washington has already stated that North Korea needs to give up its nuclear weapons before any sanctions relief can take place.