U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un entered into the second round of nuclear negotiation with a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday afternoon (local time), following the first one in Singapore last year. The heads of the two states, who met in 260 days, were said to have determined the overall path of the Hanoi Statement that will be announced on Thursday through 120 minutes of meeting including 20 minutes of a private consultation. It has been said that the two leaders focused on coming to an agreement on “Yongbyon+α” and alleviation of sanctions, which is the largest issue, along with matters that have already been coordinated such as the declaration of peace for the end of war and installment of a liaison office.
The two leaders had their first one-on-one meeting at 6:30 p.m. on that day at the Sofitel Legend Metropol Hotel in Hanoi. President Trump, who arrived at the hotel 15 minutes earlier, shook hands with Kim Jong Un and exchanged pleasant conversation. Then, they moved to the meeting hall and engaged in a 20-minute private talk with no one else but their interpreters. They have reportedly exchanged opinions on major issues that were discussed during the working-level meetings after highly appreciating the progress of U.S.-North Korea relationship and their trust relationship after last year’s Singapore summit.
Subsequently, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un moved to the dining room and had a “3+3 friendship dinner.” It was the first time the top leaders of North Korea and the United States to have dinner together. Trump was accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, while Kim brought Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, and Ri Yong Ho, the minister of foreign affairs.
In particular, Trump and Kim focused on discussing the issue of filling up the Hanoi Statement with denuclearization measures, which was still left blank with the full-fledged summit ahead on Thursday. Although North Korea is trying to exchange the nuclear facility of Yongbyon with sanctions against North Korea, the United States is still sticking to the principle that lifting of sanctions shall only be possible with the withdrawal of nuclear facilities other than the one in Yongbyon. The two countries have currently reached a situation of including a phrase that indicates the declaration of the end of war and initiates discussions on building a peace regime in the Korean Peninsula through a peace declaration during the five-day working-level meetings that started from Thursday.
Previously, President Trump met Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Phu Trong in the morning on that day and said, “We both felt very good about having this very important summit in Vietnam because you really are an example of what can happen with good thinking (to North Korea).”
The two leaders are scheduled to have a private and expanded meeting in the morning as well as a business luncheon at the Sofitel Metropol Legend Hotel on Thursday. President Trump will head back to Washington after announcing the result of the agreement through a press conference.
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