Both leaders say they expect talks to be successful

Dinner on Wednesday will be followed by a series of meetings on Thursday at a yet to be announced venue


NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump met in Vietnam on Wednesday for a second summit that the United States hopes will persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for promises of peace and development.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump shook hands and smiled briefly in front of a row of their national flags at the Metropole hotel in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, before heading to dinner together.

Mr Trump told reporters that he thought that the talks would be very successful; and when asked if he was "walking back" on denuclearisation, said "no".

At their historic first summit in Singapore last June, both leaders pledged to work towards denuclearisation and permanent peace on the Korean peninsula but little progress has been made.

Mr Kim said that they had overcome obstacles to hold their second summit and praised Mr Trump for his "courageous decision" to begin a dialogue. "Now that we're meeting here again like this, I'm confident that there will be an excellent outcome that everyone welcomes, and I'll do my best to make it happen," Mr Kim said.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim held a 20-minute, one-on-one chat before sitting down to dinner with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mr Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mr Kim's top envoy, Kim Yong Chol, and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

On Thursday, the two leaders will hold a series of meetings, the White House said. The venue has not been announced.

"We're going to have a very busy day tomorrow . . . Probably a very quick dinner," said a smiling, relaxed looking Mr Trump, seated beside Mr Kim at a round table with the other four officials and two interpreters. "Our relationship is a very special relationship."

Mr Kim also appeared at ease. "We'll have a very interesting dialogue," he told Mr Trump.

Mr Trump said late last year that he and Mr Kim "fell in love" but whether the bonhomie can move them beyond summit pageantry to substantive progress on eliminating Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal that threatens the United States is the question that will dominate the talks.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim's Singapore summit, the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, ended with great fanfare but little substance over how to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

In the run-up to this summit, Mr Trump has indicated a more flexible stance, saying that he was in no rush to secure North Korea's denuclearisation. He repeated that on Wednesday, saying that while some people believed that the talks should be moving more quickly, he was satisfied.

Mr Trump has held out the prospect of easing sanctions if North Korea does something "meaningful".

Some critics have said that Mr Trump appeared to be wavering on a long-standing US demand for complete and irreversible denuclearisation by North Korea, and risked squandering leverage if he gave away too much, too quickly.

Asked if he would declare a formal end to the Korean War, which North Korea has long called for, Mr Trump said: "We'll see." Despite little progress on his goal of ridding North Korea of its weapons programmes, Mr Trump appeared to be betting on his personal relationship with North Korea's young leader, and the economic incentive after 70 years of hostility between their countries. REUTERS

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