President Donald Trump on Monday jetted off to Vietnam for what he predicted will be a ‘very productive summit’ with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who was moving slowly to their meeting point via train.
‘Heading over to Vietnam for my meeting with Kim Jong Un. Looking forward to a very productive Summit!,’ Trump tweeted from Air Force One.
Trump’s departure came as an armored train carrying Kim and his delegation road the rails through southward through China toward Hanoi, where the two leaders will have their second sit down on Wednesday and Thursday.
President Trump jetted off to Vietnam for what he predicted will be a ‘very productive summit’ with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un headed to their Hanoi meeting location via train
The president offered an optimistic tone before his departure.
‘I think we could have a very good summit,’ he told the nation’s governors during their meeting at the White House on Monday morning. ‘I think we’ll have a very tremendous summit. We want denuclearization, and I think he’ll have a country that will set a lot of records for speed in terms of an economy.’
Kim’s train is expected to get him to Hanoi Tuesday morning local time, Reuters reported, as Trump is expected to arrive Tuesday evening.
The green train is bullet proof and travels at an average speed of 37 miles per hour,
The president has been promoting denuclearization – expected to be the main topic on the agenda of his sit down with Kim – as a way for North Korea to become an ‘Economic Powerhouse.’
‘Meeting for breakfast with our Nation’s Governors – then off to Vietnam for a very important Summit with Kim Jong Un. With complete Denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!,’ he tweeted.
Trump will meet with Kim on Wednesday and Thursday
President Trump touted the economic benefits of denuclearization as he prepares to jet off to Vietnam for his second summit with Kim Jong Un
Workers make a North Korean and a US flag out of paper-flowers in Hanoi
Trump and Kim at last June’s summit in Singapore
Trump’s enthusiasm is in contrast to his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said Sunday there may have to be a third summit because Trump and Kim ‘may not get everything done this week.’
‘There may have to be another summit,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday. ‘We may not get everything done this week. We hope we’ll make a substantial step along the way.’
While President Trump tweeted about the possibility of denuclearization on Sunday, his secretary of state offered a more measured set of expectations for the second meeting between the two leaders this week in Hanoi, Vietnam.
‘The U.N. Security Council has demanded, not the United States, but the U.N. Security Council has demanded that Chairman Kim give up these weapons systems. It’s in the best interest of his country and I hope we can make a real substantive step forward this week. It may not happen but I hope that it will,’ Pompeo said.
Trump teased the prospect of denuclearization in
‘Very productive talks yesterday with China on Trade. Will continue today! I will be leaving for Hanoi, Vietnam, early tomorrow for a Summit with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, where we both expect a continuation of the progress made at first Summit in Singapore. Denuclearization?,’ he tweeted Sunday.
He added: ‘Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World. Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there may have to be a third summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, seen here at their first summit in Singapore in July, will meet for a second time this week in Hanoi
Trump and Kim will meet Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi. Kim left for their summit via train while Trump flies out Monday.
On the agenda is denuclearization.
Washington is looking for concrete steps from North Korean that progress has been made on that front after Kim pledged to eliminate his country’s nuclear weapons’ program at his and Trump’s first summit in Singapore last summer.
Trump said last week that North Korea must do ‘something that’s meaningful’ on denuclearization before he would consider lifting economic sanctions.
North Korea has pushed for those sanctions to be reduced before it makes major changes to its nuclear program.
But Pompeo cautioned real progress on denuclearization could take time.
‘We have always known this would take time and it would be a step forward, and slower than the world has demanded, right? This is a U.N. Security Council resolution that we’re attempting to achieve by getting North Korea fully denuclearized,’ he said Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’
‘I’m hopeful that, when President Trump and Chairman Kim get together, they will make a big step towards realizing what Chairman Kim promised. He promised he would denuclearize. We hope he will make a big step towards that in the week ahead,’ he added.
He declined to get into the specifics of what the U.S. wanted from Pyongyang.
‘There are many things he could do to demonstrate his commitment to denuclearization. Our negotiating team was on the ground the last three days. And they will be on the ground again today. I will be there tomorrow to continue these discussion,’ Pompeo said.
‘I don’t want to get into the details of what’s being proposed, what the offers and counteroffers may be. But a real step, a demonstrable, verifiable step is something that I know President Trump is very focused on achieving,’ he added.
Trump and Kim will meet Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi
CNN anchor Jake Tapper also called out Pompeo for contradicting President Trump on whether or not North Korea remains a nuclear threat
CNN anchor Jake Tapper also called out Pompeo for contradicting President Trump on whether or not North Korea remains a nuclear threat.
‘Do you think North Korea remains a nuclear threat?,’ Tapper asked Pompeo when the secretary of state appeared on ‘State of the Union.
‘Yes,’ Pompeo responded.
‘But the president said he doesn’t,’ Tapper pointed out.
After his first summit with Kim in Singapore, Trump claimed ‘there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.’
‘Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,’ Trump tweeted last June. ‘There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!’
Pompeo took issue with Tapper’s characterization of Trump’s remarks.
‘That’s not what he said,’ Pompeo noted.
‘He tweeted: ‘There’s no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea,” Tapper said in response.
‘What he said was that the efforts that had been made in Singapore, this commitment that Chairman Kim, may have substantially taken down the risk to the American people. It’s the mission of the secretary of state and the president of the United States to keep the American people secure. We’re aiming to achieve that,’ Pompeo argued.
‘OK. I mean, that’s just a direct quote, but I want to move on,’ Tapper said.