Trump-Kim summit in February expected to take place in Vietnam

The White House announced a second summit will be held between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, likely at the end of February, as Pyongyang's nuclear envoy met Trump at the White House.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meeting in Singapore on June 12, 2018. The next Trump-Kim summit appears likely to take place in Vietnam.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meeting in Singapore on June 12, 2018. The next Trump-Kim summit appears likely to take place in Vietnam.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Administration officials are planning for United States President Donald Trump's second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to take place in Vietnam, said people familiar with the plans.

The White House announced last Friday (Jan 18) that Mr Trump would meet Mr Kim in late February, following a 90-minute meeting between the President and Mr Kim Yong Chol, one of the North Korean leader's top aides.

Mr Kim Yong Chol also met Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last Friday.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim held their first meeting in Singapore in June.

The meeting is likely to take place in Hanoi, the capital, but Danang - site of the 2017 Apec meeting - and Ho Chi Minh City have also been discussed as possible venues.

“Great meeting this week with top Reps,” Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday (Jan 20). “Looking forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at the end of February!”

Neither the administration nor the North Koreans offered much else after last Friday’s meetings about what they had agreed to and what would be gained from the planned summit.

That only raised more questions because so little progress has been made towards the US’ ultimate goal – getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons – since the first meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un.  

The prospect of another meeting with Mr Kim, the enigmatic leader with whom Mr Trump’s struck an unlikely rapport, offered the President a departure from the partisan stalemate over the US government shutdown and the continued drip of investigations into his Russia dealings. Mr Trump basked in the aftermath of the first summit when he declared North Korea that was no longer a nuclear threat.

Still, more than seven months later, North Korea has made no commitments to allow weapons inspections or dismantle its growing arsenal of warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The announcement about the second summit suggested that the US was softening its refusal to relax sanctions against North Korea because Mr Kim had, earlier this month, threatened to walk away from talks if Mr Trump did not compromise.