US President Donald Trump has hailed North Korea’s “awesome” potential, saying its leader wants to do something great.
Mr. Trump’s statement came hours ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, in an attempt to break a stalemate over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
Despite little progress on his goal of ridding North Korea of itsnuclear weapons, the US leader is thought to be betting on his personal relationship with Mr. Kim. He’s also promised economic incentives which Washington believes could be crucial after seventy years of hostility between their two countries.
“Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,” Mr. Trump had said on Twitter, the morning after he arrived in Hanoi.
“The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong-un,” he had added.
He later said he was looking forward to the talks with the young North Korean leader.
Meanwhile, the two leaders have met and shaken hands at the Metropole hotel, where they will have a twenty-minute, one-on-one chat, followed by a dinner with aides.
President Trump is being accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Chairman Kim being joined by his senior envoy, Kim Yong Chol, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
On Thursday, the two leaders will hold “a series of back and forth” meetings, the White House has said.
The venue has not been announced.
Late last year, Mr. Trump said he and Mr. Kim “fell in love”, and on the eve of his departure for the second summit said they had developed “a very, very good relationship”.
Analysts are however expressing doubts whether the ‘mutual good feelings’ can move the two sides beyond summit pageantry to substantive progress on eliminating Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal that directly threatens the US.