Trump Says ‘Speed’s Not That Important’ as Kim Summit Begins
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are holding their second summit within a year, where the U.S. side hopes to make progress toward Pyongyang giving up its nuclear weapons.
The summit was organized in Hanoi in haste after Trump announced the meeting on Feb. 8, and the White House has sought to lower expectations. Possible outcomes include a joint declaration that the U.S. and North Korea are no longer at war, a nonbinding agreement that wouldn’t officially replace the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.
The two leaders are expected to sign a joint agreement at about 2:00 p.m. Hanoi time, and Trump plans to hold a news conference at about 4:00 p.m. before departing for Washington, where domestic politics have distracted from his summit. His former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, accused the president of financial misdeeds in testimony to a House committee on Wednesday.
Kim Says He’s Willing to Denuclearize (11:16 p.m.)
Kim answered more questions from U.S. reporters before he and Trump expanded their meeting to include several aides from both sides.
He said through a translator that he wouldn’t be at the summit if he wasn’t willing to denuclearize, and said that the U.S. and North Korea establishing respective diplomatic offices in each other’s countries would be a “welcome idea,” without committing to it.
“I actually think it’s a good idea both ways,” Trump said, after asking reporters not to shout questions at Kim. “This isn’t like dealing with Trump,” the president joked.
Trump called the talks so far “very productive” and said “the relationship is as good as it’s ever been.”
After answering a couple of questions Kim asked Trump if journalists could leave the room. “Even one minute is precious to us,” he said in Korean.
The North Korean leader and the president ended a first series of meetings at about 10:45 a.m., the White House said, and took a short break before what the White House calls an expanded bilateral meeting.
Trump Says ‘Speed’s Not That Important’ At Summit (9:21 a.m.)
President Donald Trump said he’s in no rush for North Korea to give up its nuclear arms and tamped down expectations for his second summit with Kim Jong Un, saying that over the long term the talks would be a success.
“I can’t speak necessarily to today,” Trump said as the summit began. Over the longer term, “we’re going to have a fantastic success,” he said.
“Speed’s not that important to me,” Trump added. “No rush. We just want to do the right deal.”
For the first known time, Kim answered a question from a U.S. reporter among the journalists gathered to watch the opening of the summit. He was asked if he was confident, and Kim said in Korean: “My hunch says good results will come out.”
“There are people remaining skeptical about this meeting,” Kim said in introductory remarks. “All of them will be watching this moment together as if they are watching a fantasy movie.”
“Let me assure you I will do all my best to bring a good result ultimately,” he added.
Trump and Kim are conducting their talks at Hanoi’s historic Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. After a private meeting, they walked past the hotel’s swimming pool and were joined by aides including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Here’s what happened on Wednesday:
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