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N. Korean leader in Hanoi for talks with Trump

26.02.2019, 19:52 6508
N. Korean leader in Hanoi for talks with Trump
Photo: Yonhap
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un checked into a Hanoi hotel Tuesday on the eve of his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump expected to focus on trading his nuclear program for economic and political rewards, according to Yonhap. 
 
A bulletproof Mercedes S600 Pullman Guard carrying Kim arrived at the five-star Melia hotel in downtown Hanoi after a two-hour, 170-kilometer road trip from a train station near Vietnam's border with China. Kim reached the station earlier following a 66-hour, 4,500km train journey from Pyongyang.
 
Kim is scheduled to meet with Trump on Wednesday and Thursday for the first time in eight months.
 
Security has been tightened to a maximum level around the hotel, with police and armored guards deployed close to it and a number of TV camera crews staked out.
 
The two leaders are scheduled to begin the summit with a one-on-one meeting and a social dinner, to be joined by their top aides, in Hanoi on Wednesday night. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is already in Hanoi.
 
The initial meeting is expected to set the tone for this week's event, another watershed not only in their personal chemistry but also in the nascent peace process.
 
Kim and Trump will have follow-up talks the next day in a bid to flesh out the details of their June 12 accord in Singapore, in which they agreed to work together for "complete denuclearization," transformation of Pyongyang-Washington relations and a peace regime.One summit focus will be whether they can produce a joint declaration calling for concrete steps toward denuclearization by North Korea and corresponding U.S. measures that satisfy Pyongyang.
 
The North's main Yongbyon nuclear complex is seen as a major card the North Korean leader could play in return for such incentives as the proclamation of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War and the continued suspension of major combined military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
 
Washington's priority is to freeze the North's weapons of mass destruction program and delivery means, according to U.S. officials. They also hope for verifiable dismantlement of the Yongbyon facilities and a clear denuclearization road map.
 
Posting liaison officers in each other's capital is also being considered. As he did in Singapore, Trump, a former businessman, is likely to dangle the carrot of a bright future for the impoverished nation if it ceases its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
 
Kim is expected to call on the U.S. to lower its guard and relax sanctions on Pyongyang.
 
The format in which they could announce their agreement, if they reach one, is also grabbing attention. Observers do not rule out the possibility of a joint press conference, a routine post-summit ceremony for Trump and other foreign leaders.
 
 
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