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Trump in ‘no rush’ for deal with N.Korea on second day of summit

Trump and Kim will hold a “joint agreement signing ceremony”, the White House said

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un began a second day of talks on February 28, with both sides expressing hope for progress on improving relations and the key issue of denuclearisation.

Trump and Kim met in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on February 27 for their second summit, after their historic but inconclusive first meeting in Singapore eight months ago.

As they got down to the substance of the issues dividing them, they both appeared to be cautiously optimistic, with Trump stressing the talks aimed at tackling North Korea’s nuclear threat should not be rushed.

“I’ve been saying very much from the beginning that speed is not that important to me. I very much appreciate no testing of nuclear rockets, missiles, any of it, very much appreciate it,” Trump told reporters as he and Kim sat at a round table in the French-colonial-era Metropole hotel before their session. “We just want to do the right deal.”

North Korea has conducted no nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests since late 2017. Kim, asked by a reporter if he was confident about a deal, said, through an interpreter:

“It’s too early to tell, but I wouldn’t say I’m pessimistic. For what I feel right now, I do have a feeling that good results will come out,” he said, in what was believed to be his first ever response to a foreign journalist. “There must be people who watch us having a wonderful time, like a scene from a fantasy movie. We have so far made lots of efforts, and it’s time to show them.”

Trump reiterated North Korea’s potential, if a deal can be done, saying the isolated country could be an “economic powerhouse”.

Trump and Kim have a series of meetings scheduled at the Metropole and will later hold a “joint agreement signing ceremony”, the White House said. After, Trump plans a news conference at 3:50 p.m.

Partial denuclearisation

The White House has given no indication of what the signing ceremony might involve, although the two sides’ discussions have included the possibility of a political statement to declare the 1950-53 Korean War over.

They have also discussed partial denuclearisation measures, such as allowing inspectors to observe the dismantling of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, U.S. and South Korean officials say.

U.S. concessions could include opening liaison offices or clearing the way for inter-Korean projects, but critics say Trump risks squandering vital leverage if he gives away too much, too quickly.

Their June summit in Singapore was the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. It produced a joint statement in which Kim pledged to work toward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the two sides committed to establish new ties and build a permanent peace regime. But there has been little progress since.

U.S. intelligence officials have said there is no sign North Korea will give up its entire arsenal of nuclear weapons, which Kim’s ruling family sees as vital to its survival, and analysts say Pyongyang is unlikely to commit to significant steps without an easing of punishing U.S.-led sanctions.

Facing mounting pressure at home over investigations into Russian meddling in the election, Trump has sought a big win by trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for promises of peace and development, a foreign policy goal that has confounded multiple predecessors.

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