Second Trump-Kim Summit Kicks Off In Hanoi With A Handshake – NPR

President Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday as their second summit begins in Hanoi.

Evan Vucci/AP


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Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday as their second summit begins in Hanoi.

Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump and Kim Jong Un struck an upbeat note at the launch of their second summit in Hanoi Wednesday. The leaders strode before the flashing cameras of the international press corps at the luxurious Metropole Hotel, grasped hands and posed with American and North Korean flags in the backdrop.

Trump said he was anticipating a “very successful” summit in which the two leaders would work toward denuclearization while reaffirming the strength of his relationship with the North Korean leader.

Trump said he hoped to build on the first summit. “We made a lot of progress and I think our biggest progress was our relationship is really a good one.”

Trump has said the ultimate goal of round two with Kim is for the regime to relinquish its nuclear program. When asked Wednesday if he’d walked back the goal of denuclearization, Trump said “no.”

Calling Kim “a great leader” Trump said North Korea has “tremendous economic potential” and “we will help it happen.”

Through an interpreter Kim referenced past “hostility,” between Pyongyang and Washington.

“However, we have been able to overcome all those obstacles and here we are today,” Kim said. “And I hope that we can provide an outcome that is welcome to everyone and I am sure that we can do this.”

For its part, the North wants to secure relief from international sanctions aimed at forcing Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program.

Reporters shouted questions as the leaders wrapped up, including about former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen’s upcoming congressional testimony about alleged lawbreaking by his then-boss. Trump ignored the questions.

The leaders are meeting over what the White House has called “a social dinner,” accompanied by interpreters as well as two officials from their respective countries. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are joining the president. And Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, and Ri Yong Ho, the minister of foreign affairs, will join Kim.

The summit continues Thursday.

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