Is Vietnam set to host the long-awaited second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un?

  • According to reports in South Korean media, US State Department officials have met ‘multiple times’ with their North Korean counterparts in Hanoi
PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 6:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2019, 8:40am

US State Department officials have reportedly held a slew of meetings with their North Korean counterparts in Hanoi recently, fuelling speculation that the Vietnamese capital will host the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The two sides have met multiple times to discuss the schedule for the upcoming summit, the South Korean Munhwa newspaper reported on Monday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources in Seoul and Washington.

Vietnam has diplomatic relations with both the United States and North Korea, and both countries maintain embassies in Vietnam. It also has the symbolic significance of being a communist country that has reformed its economy, Munhwa reported.

The US embassy in Seoul did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Is North Korea trying to copy Vietnam?

In November, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho met Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on what was described as a “fact-finding mission” by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Details of the four-day trip are sparse, and it is not known if a second summit was discussed.

On Sunday, Trump told reporters in Washington that the United States and North Korea are “negotiating a location” for a second summit.

“It will be announced probably in the not too distant future,” Trump said. “They do want to meet and we want to meet and we’ll see what happens.”

While the two sides had “a very good dialogue” and the American president had “indirectly” communicated with Kim, Trump said sanctions would be enforced until more progress is made.

In a nationally televised New Year address, Kim said he is willing to meet Trump again anytime to achieve their common goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula, but warned he may have to take an alternative path if US sanctions and pressure against the country continued.

‘No choice but to consider a new path if US doesn’t keep its promises’: Kim

“I am always ready to sit together with the US president anytime in the future, and will work hard to produce results welcomed by the international community without fail,” Kim said.