The second high-stakes summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was set to begin Wednesday, with Mr. Trump and the North Korean strongman set to hold a one-on-one conversation aimed at moving forward the still-latent process of ridding the totalitarian state of its nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Trump and Kim were to have there first encounter of the summit before sitting down together for dinner in Hanoi at 6:40 p.m. local time (6:40 a.m. Eastern). There pre-dinner greeting was to last only about 20 minutes. From there, Mr. Trump and Kim were to share a “social dinner.” Both of those meetings were expected to be briefly open to the press.
The White House press corps was forced to relocate from its working space in a Hanoi hotel not long after Kim’s arrival as, in an apparent oversight, Kim and his entourage were booked into the same hotel.
Trump tweets on “false reporting” of summit details
“All false reporting (guessing) on my intentions with respect to North Korea. Kim Jong Un and I will try very hard to work something out on Denuclearization & then making North Korea an Economic Powerhouse,” Mr. Trump tweeted early Wednesday morning before his meeting with Chairman Kim.
He added that countries including China and Russia would be “very helpful” in the denuclearization efforts of the Korean Peninsula.
White House manages expectations for the summit
Senior White House staffers and the president himself have tried to lower expectations for this second summit, after North Korea showed little tangible progress towards denuclearization since last year’s meeting in Singapore.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News that only the media have high expectations for the summit, because they want to see the president fail.
“I think that the only one setting high expectations is probably the media because they’re looking for reasons to attack this president,” Sanders told Fox News last Friday. “They hate the idea that he’s done so well on something his predecessors couldn’t do anything on.”
Mr. Trump has taken a wait-and-see approach to the summit. He told the governors at the White House Sunday that he believes he and Kim “see eye to eye, I believe, but you’ll be seeing it more and more over the next couple of days one way or the other.”
Specific goals of meeting still unclear
The Trump administration’s specific goals for the meeting are still unclear. The administration has insisted denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the ultimate objective, but hasn’t been clear on how it intends to get there.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump said he was happy as long as North Korea continued to refrain from nuclear and missile tests, which it has done since before the leaders’ first summit last year.
“What’s going to happen, I can’t tell you,” Mr. Trump told governors from across the country at a dinner Sunday night. “I think eventually it would but I can’t tell you. And I’m not in a rush. I don’t want to rush anybody. I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing we’re happy.”
Senior administration officials told reporters last week they hope to reach a shared definition of denuclearization, which hasn’t been reached in the eight months since the last summit in Singapore.
Trump and Kim welcomed with great excitement ahead of summit
CBS News’ chief White House correspondent Major Garrett has a look at the pre-summit activities after President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un arrived in Vietnam.
Kim arrived hours before Mr. Trump on Tuesday, after a two-and-a-half-day train ride through China. People lined the streets to get a look at the first North Korean leader to visit the country in more than 50 years.
Watch the full report in the video above.