Saturday, 27 November 2021

Kim arrives for nuclear summit with Trump after marathon train trip

DONG DANG: Kim Jong Un crossed into Vietnam Tuesday after a marathon train journey for a second summit showdown with US President Donald Trump, with the world looking for concrete progress over North Korea’s nuclear programme.

Following a historic first meeting in Singapore in June that produced a vaguely worded statement about Kim’s nuclear arsenal, analysts say the second summit in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi must this time put substance ahead of bonhomie.

Kim’s trademark olive green train chugged into the normally sleepy Vietnamese station of Dong Dang following a 4,000-kilometre (2,500-mile), two-and-a-half-day odyssey shrouded in secrecy.

Schoolchildren waving North Korean flags and a military guard of honour in pristine white uniforms greeted Kim, the first North Korean leader to visit Vietnam since his grandfather Kim Il Sung in 1964.

Wearing his trademark Mao-style black suit and surrounded by a crush of security, Kim smiled and waved as he was ushered into a waiting Mercedes Benz and his motorcade rolled off towards to Hanoi, his bodyguards at first trotting alongside his vehicle.

Trump was taking a more conventional route to the meeting on Air Force One and was expected to arrive in Hanoi late Tuesday. He tweeted he was looking forward to a “very productive” second meeting with Kim.

The US president again dangled the carrot of economic progress for North Korea if it gives up its nuclear programme. “With complete Denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse,” tweeted Trump. “Without it, just more of the same.”

“Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!”

Relations between the two mercurial leaders have undergone a dramatic turnaround, from flinging personal insults and threats of destruction to Trump declaring he had fallen “in love” with Kim through an exchange of letters.

But many North Korea watchers dismissed the Singapore summit as a piece of political theatre that failed to produce a concrete roadmap to denuclearisation and stressed that the Hanoi meeting must deliver more.

“The window for diplomatic progress with North Korea will not remain open indefinitely. The second summit… must emphasise substance over pageantry,” said Kelsey Davenport from the Arms Control Association.

Concrete details about the summit have been few and far between but White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One the two leaders would dine together Wednesday with close advisors.

Check Also

Younis Khan quits Pakistan’s batting coach role

Getty Images LAHORE – Former captain Younis Khan has stepped down from the batting coach ...

Leave a Reply