Trump – Kim Jong Un summit: North Korea leader enjoys limelight before Trump’s arrival in Vietnam

Hanoi — President Trump was to land in Vietnam on Tuesday for his highly- anticipated second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Before he left the U.S., he said he was, “not in a rush” to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, as long as it continues to refrain from nuclear and missile tests.  

Kim arrived in Vietnam earlier 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.

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports that it has been billed as a two-day summit, and the White House has said President Trump will meet Kim in Hanoi on Wednesday night for dinner. But the official summit meetings will take place on Thursday.

Kim’s earlier arrival in Hanoi on Tuesday left him to enjoy the limelight solo for at least a while. 

Tracy noted that when the North Korean leader arrived in Vietnam he was wearing a black suit — and a big smile. Kim seemed relieved to be done with his 60-hour train ride from Pyongyang. He climbed inside his armored Mercedes and rolled down the window; the dictator known for starving and killing his own people looked like a seasoned politician.

APTOPIX Trump Kim Summit
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a car after arriving by train in Dong Dang in Vietnamese border town, Feb. 26, 2019, ahead of his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.


When he arrived at his hotel in the Vietnamese capital, North Korean security agents left nothing to chance. A bellman told CBS News that all of Kim’s food, cooking supplies and even forks and knives were brought in from North Korea.

But the big question of this summit is what Kim is willing to do without: Will North Korea take any concrete steps towards denuclearization?

Before leaving Washington, President Trump previewed the argument he’ll make to Kim.

“We want denuclearization, and I think you’ll have a country that will set a lot of record for speed in terms of the economy,” Mr. Trump predicted.

Kim desperately wants relief from crippling economic sanctions, but he doesn’t yet seem willing to trade his nuclear weapons to get it — even if it would improve the lives of his impoverished people.

“I think North Korea also needs to understand that they can’t eat nuclear weapons,” former South Korean Army Lieutenant General Chun in-Bum told CBS News.

Trump heads to Vietnam for summit with North Korea

Asked by Tracy whether he really believes the Kim regime is prepared to give up its nuclear arsenal after spending so much time and money on it, Chun said: “I personally think it is going to be a hard process, but even if they decide to do so, it’s going to take 15 to 20 years.”

In what appears to be a case of seriously bad planning, it turns out that the hotel where the White House press corps was assigned to work from in Hanoi, is also the hotel where Kim is staying.

When Kim arrived on Tuesday morning, all of the journalists were kicked out, and the hotel said North Korean security agents were now in charge.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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