Trump, Kim to begin second summit with meeting, dinner


US President Donald J. Trump walks into a meeting room at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb 27, 2019, ahead the second summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. EPA-EFE FILE/LUONG THAI LINH / POOL

HANOI.- The president of the United States and North Korea’s leader will have a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday evening followed by dinner at the start of the second summit focused on North Korea’s denuclearization and the possibility of moving towards the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Eight months after their historic first summit in Singapore, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will meet each other again at 6.30 pm in the luxurious French colonial-style Sofitel Legend Metropole of Hanoi.

Trump and Kim will meet alone for a 20-minute conversation, according to the White House, and will be joined by four of their advisers for a dinner lasting one hour 35 minutes, which the White House has described more as a «social» than working dinner.

Accompanying Trump to the dinner will be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney while it is believed that Kim will be accompanied by his sister and adviser, Kim Yo-jong, and former military intelligence chief, Kim Yong-chol.

The summit will continue on Thursday and although the agenda is still unknown, Trump and Kim are expected to try to advance towards a shared definition of what denuclearization means, an ambitious task given that Pyongyang believes that the process should also include South Korea.

According to media reports, the summit could end with the signing of a legally non-binding peace declaration to symbolically end the state of war which still technically prevails on the peninsula since the end of the Korean War of 1950-1953.

North Korea and the US are also expected to set up liaison offices in their respective capitals, the first step towards establishing diplomatic ties between the traditional foes.

Many analysts also consider it likely that North Korea will pledge to disable its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, the place where the regime has made fuel for the six nuclear tests it has conducted to date, in exchange for incentives from the US.

Before the start of the summit, Trump was due to take part in a series of meetings and the signing of a trade agreement with the Vietnamese authorities while Kim’s agenda was unknown except that he has postponed until Friday the start of his state visit to Vietnam.

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