Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have begun their second summit in Hanoi, with the US president calling his North Korean counterpart “a great leader” and offering to help give his country a “tremendous future”.
The two leaders advanced towards each other and shook hands in front of a dozen US and North Korean flags, set up in the city’s Metropole hotel, in a tableau near-identical to the backdrop to their first meeting, eight months ago in Singapore.
In his remarks to the press, Trump addressed criticism that the first summit had not lived up to his claims that it was a breakthrough that would lead to North Korea’s disarmament and end the nuclear threat the country posed.
“It is an honour to be with Chairman Kim. It’s an honour to be together in a country, Vietnam, where they have rolled out the red carpet and they are very honoured to have us,” Trump told reporters as the two men sat alongside each before brief introductory talks.
“It’s great to be with you. We had a very good first summit … Some people would like it to go quicker, but I’m satisfied. You’re satisfied. We want to be happy with what we’re doing.”
“I thought the first summit was a great success,” the president added. “And I think this one hopefully will be equal or greater than the first. And we made a lot of progress … I think the biggest progress was our relationship, which is really a good one.”
Trump continued the approach he has pursued since Singapore, which was to flatter Kim and hold the prospect of great prosperity for North Korea if he agreed to disarm.
“I think your country has tremendous economic potential – unbelievable, unlimited. I think you will have a tremendous future with your country – a great leader. And I look forward to watching it happen and helping it to happen.”
In his own remarks, Kim returned the compliment, saying he ”truly believes this successful summit is because of courageous decision by Trump”.