Published: Sun, February 24, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Kim Jong-un boards train to Hanoi for second Trump summit

Kim Jong-un boards train to Hanoi for second Trump summit

Kim Jong Un is travelling to Hanoi for the summit with Donald Trump On February 27-28.

Trump and Kim met in Singapore last June, marking the first summit between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, but the conference produced only a vague pledge to work towards denuclearization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told the US secretary of state he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer involved in high-level diplomacy over the North's weapons was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry said Kim would make an official goodwill visit to the country, but did not mention the dates and itinerary.

He is expected to arrive in Vietnam on February 25.

The train's crossing into China follows days of speculation over Kim's travel plans, which remain shrouded in secrecy, as his team gathered in Hanoi ahead of the talks expected next Wednesday and Thursday.

North Korea's state media has yet to confirm either Mr. Kim Jong-un's trip to Vietnam or his summit with Mr. Trump.

Vietnamese police have stepped up security around the border station.

Two sources with direct knowledge of security and logistics planning told Reuters on Wednesday that Vietnam was preparing for Kim to arrive by train.

It came after Vietnam announced the unprecedented move of closing that 170km stretch of road on Tuesday between 6am and 2pm - suggesting Kim could travel on the road between those hours.

But a former USA intelligence officer, who helped arrange the first summit, predicted on Friday the second summit would be more productive than the first, quoting Kim Jong Un as saying a year ago he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons. His grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, last visited in 1964.

Still, a journey from China's frozen northern border to subtropical Vietnam would present a logistical headache and complex security challenges.

Justin Hastings, associate professor in worldwide relations at the University of Sydney, said that would be "a pretty major operation".

But China may view the hassle as a necessary cost to get Kim to the summit, he told AFP. While North Korea has repeatedly demanded that the United States take corresponding measures, including sanctions relief, Washington has called for more concrete steps from Pyongyang toward denuclearization.

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