Trump and North Korea's Kim predict success in high-stakes nuclear summit

With the president outside the US, his now-disbarred former personal lawyer was testifying publicly on Capitol Hill later Wednesday about alleged misconduct by Trump.

Trump had a full day of meetings with Vietnamese officials before the one-on-one sit-down and dinner with Kim later Wednesday.

The North Korean leader has gone from questioning Trump's sanity and warning he would "tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire" to writing Trump gushing letters and pledging to denuclearize his nation and turn his energy toward developing his country's economy.

"I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now", Cohen said in a draft statement seen by Reuters. "We will know fairly soon - Very Interesting!".

Howard X, an impersonator of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was deported from Vietnam.

White House officials always caution that preliminary schedules, particularly those for foreign trips, are subject to change, up until the last minute.

The meetings between the two leaders will be held in the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel in Hanoi.

In Hanoi, the government has festooned the city with US, Vietnamese and North Korean flags and branded the summit as a "partnership for sustainable peace".

The U.S. and North Korea have been cobbling together an agreement along the lines of the terms that were agreed during their first lackluster summit in Singapore past year.

According to media reports, the United States and North Korean leaders are expected to discuss concrete steps toward removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula.

"Clearly, there needs to be a more solid foundation for dialogue than Kim and Trump".

But the carnival-like atmosphere in the Vietnamese capital, with street artists painting likenesses of the leaders and vendors hawking T-shirts showing Kim waving and Trump giving a thumbs-up, contrasted with the serious items on their agenda: North Korea's nuclear weapons program and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"Now that we're meeting here again like this, I'm confident that there will be an excellent outcome that everyone welcomes, and I'll do my best to make it happen", Kim said.

He said the country could quickly emulate the summit's host, Vietnam - a communist state once locked in devastating conflict with the United States, but now a thriving trade partner.

Observers said the pair were at pains to show their relationship had improved since June, with their body language closely mirroring each other.

He's now expected to ask the North for more concrete steps, including an inventory of nuclear weapons and facilities.

The turmoil in Washington has escalated concerns that Trump, eager for an agreement, would give Kim too much and get too little in return. "Peace between Washington and Pyongyang might contribute to an untimely withdrawal of US forces from South Korea, encouraging risky misconceptions in Pyongyang", it said. Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong Chol, a former military spy chief and Kim's point man in negotiations, and Ri Yong Ho, the foreign affairs minister.

It's the first time Bolton has openly remarked on North Korea since he told the Washington Times on January 25th what the USA needs from the North "is a significant sign of a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons".

Opening liaison offices would signal the first stage of normalizing US-North Korean relations, said Go Myong-hyun of the Asan Institute of Policy Studies, and would be an ideal "politically symbolic step" rather than prematurely agreeing to sanctions relief.

  • Tracy Klein