WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have arrived in Vietnam and are getting ready for their second meeting in just nine months.
The two leaders, who have a history of insult-hurling and name-calling but have dialed down the incendiary oratory, plan to discuss nuclear weapons Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi.
The meetings are a follow-up to their first summit last June, when they signed a vaguely worded agreement promising to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The new round of talks will give the leaders a chance to flesh out some of the details of that accord.
Here’s everything you should know about the Trump-Kim Summit, Version 2.0:
Why are they meeting again?
Trump and Kim both expressed a desire for a follow-up meeting after their first summit in Singapore.
Though critics questioned how much was accomplished, that encounter was truly historic: It was the first meeting ever between a sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea.
Three months later, Trump told a crowd in West Virginia that Kim had written him “beautiful letters” and said the one-time adversaries “fell in love.” Kim made it clear he was willing to meet again “any time.”
Trump announced in his State of the Union address that the second summit would take place this week in Vietnam.
Symbolism may have played a role in the selection of the host country.
While the U.S. and Vietnam have a long, bloody history that included a 20-year war, relations have improved significantly since President Bill Clinton restored diplomatic ties in 1995. Vietnam has blossomed economically and serves as a perfect backdrop for the U.S. to illustrate how it can mend ties with a former adversary.
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Will Trump and Kim meet privately?
Yes. The two leaders plan a one-on-one confab in Vietnam, just as they did during their Singapore summit. The meeting is expected to follow a similar format, and Trump and Kim are expected to dine together.
Who else is there?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the top U.S. diplomat, joins Trump. He led the president’s outreach efforts to Pyongyang last year and traveled to North Korea at least four times. He also visited Vietnam last July, shortly after the Singapore summit.
Pompeo arrived in Hanoi on Monday and huddled with the State Department’s lead North Korea negotiator, Special Representative Steve Biegun, to continue preparations for the summit. On Tuesday morning, Pompeo met with Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the ministry building in downtown Hanoi.
National Security Adviser John Bolton also is likely to attend. Bolton was at the Singapore summit and was involved in the discussions there with Kim and other North Korean officials.
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What is on the agenda?
Few details have been released, but it’s a safe bet that much of the discussion will center on the denuclearization agreement Trump and Kim signed in Singapore.
While the accord pledged the two countries would work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it offered no specifics about what kinds of weapons would be eliminated or the time frame for seeing them dismantled.
Members of the Trump administration say North Korea is still developing a nuclear weapons program, raising doubts about whether Kim is committed to denuclearization. Satellite footage has indicated North Korea is still running its main nuclear complex.
The U.S. is looking for firmer commitments at the Vietnam summit.
What else will be discussed?
North Korea has its own agenda, which probably will include lifting economic sanctions that have crippled the country.
Kim also has been pushing for a peace declaration formally ending the Korean War. Though the fighting stopped in 1953 with an armistice – essentially a cease-fire – the U.S. and North Korea are technically are still at war.
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