Kim Jong Un Begins Long Train Trek to Vietnam for Trump Summit

(Bloomberg) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un began the long train journey to Vietnam on Saturday for his second summit with President Donald Trump, state media reported.

The official Korean Central News Agency confirmed early Sunday local time that Kim was en route, accompanied by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, and Kim Yong Chol, who’s been a key negotiator in talks with the U.S. Russia’s TASS news agency reported the North Korean leader’s departure hours earlier, citing a diplomatic official it didn’t identify.

Kim Jong Un Begins Long Train Trek to Vietnam for Trump Summit

Kim is due to meet Trump this week in Hanoi for their second summit after a meeting in June in Singapore, where they agreed to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Progress has sputtered since then, with critics saying the statement failed to spell out how to achieve its key goals.

Trump will meet with Kim one-on-one in Hanoi for a meal and will be joined by aides for lengthier negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, U.S. officials said.

Kim Jong Un Begins Long Train Trek to Vietnam for Trump Summit

On the trip to the Singapore summit, he flew from Pyongyang on a Chinese state-owned airplane two days ahead of the event instead of using a plane from North Korea’s state carrier, which has been banned from some regions due to safety concerns. It was his farthest foray from home since taking office in 2011.

Kim Jong Un Begins Long Train Trek to Vietnam for Trump Summit

For his rail trips, Kim travels on a heavily fortified train equipped with luxury carriages that plod along the tracks at slow speeds due to its weight and construction. The journey to Hanoi could take two days or more and include a lengthy car trip from the Vietnam-China border.

The 35-year-old leader’s visit to Vietnam would be the first of a North Korean leader to the country in more than a half century. His grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, last visited in 1964.

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