North Korean leader Kim Yong Un set off to Vietnam to hold a second summit with US President Donald Trump on Saturday, days ahead of the high-stakes nuclear meeting in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, North Korea confirmed on Sunday.
Kim left Pyongyang by train on Saturday afternoon for the Feb. 27-28 summit accompanied by senior North Korean officials as well as his influential sister, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency and its Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported.
Trump and Kim will meet in Hanoi eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, where they pledged to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
With little progress since then, the two leaders are expected to focus on what elements of North Korea’s nuclear program it might begin to give up, in exchange for U.S. concessions.
He was accompanied by top officials also involved in the Singapore summit, including Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief and Kim’s top envoy in negotiations with the United States, as well as senior party aide Ri Su Yong, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and defense chief No Kwang Chol.
The North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who acted as a close aide to him in Singapore, is again part of the delegation, KCNA said.
The extensive coverage in the secretive North’s official media was a contrast to the limited reporting that has traditionally prevailed during his foreign trips.
Other senior North Korean officials, such as his de facto chief of staff Kim Chang Son and Kim Hyok Chol, negotiations counterpart to U.S. envoy Stephen Biegun, were already in Hanoi to prepare for the summit.
With scant progress since the June summit, the two leaders are likely to try to build on their personal connection to push things forward in Hanoi, even if only incrementally, analysts said.