11.40pm EST 23:40 Donald Trump meets Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP President Donald Trump is calling the relationship between the US and Vietnam an “example” of what can become of North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons. Trump met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu
President Donald Trump is calling the relationship between the US and Vietnam an “example” of what can become of North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons.
Trump met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong ahead of his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled for later today.
“We both felt very good about having this very important summit in Vietnam because you really are an example as to what can happen, with good thinking,” said Trump.
The Vietnamese leader said his country has “been making all necessary preparations to ensure the best conditions for the success of this very special meeting.”
“Our country like yours doing very very well,” he said. “I see what you’ve done and I’m very proud of what you’ve done.”
Trump described seeing buildings going up in the motorcade and noted, “Vietnam is thriving”.
Trump also thanked Vietnam for agreeing to new trade deals with American companies, including Boeing, which will be signed after the bilateral meeting.
In case you missed it, there was a rather extraordinary story this morning about Dutch customs officials seizing 90,000 bottles of vodka believed to be destined for the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and his army chiefs.
The discovery was made after Dutch authorities flagged up the suspicious route and records of a Chinese-owned container ship, Nebula.
Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister for trade, who ordered the seizure, said: “The security council of the United Nations has imposed clear sanctions on North Korea, so it is important to enforce those sanctions. The sanctions also govern the import of luxury goods and so customs was completely justified in unloading that container.”
Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, is known to have a taste for the high life. Last year, it was claimed he had has spent more than $4bn (£3bn) on importing luxury products from China since taking power in 2011.
His family is said to have imported a seaplane, musical instruments, watches and furs, with luxury items accounting for 17.8% of North Korea’s total imports from China in 2017, according to a South Korean analysis.
And what has Kim Jong-un been up to since he arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday?
Yesterday he was photographed visiting the North Korean embassy in Hanoi. As well as holding meetings, Kim took the time to pose for a photo with embassy staff in front of a truly extraordinary painting.
Trump has met with Nguyen Phu Trong, the Vietnamese president and head of the Communist Party.
The pair will now participate in an expanded bilateral meeting, before signing agreements for commercial trade. Their various meetings and signings will be wrapped up in the next hour.
How the day will unfold
This summit is running over two days, with Trump and Kim meeting tonight for dinner and discussions. That meeting will take place at 6:30pm local time (10:30pm Sydney time, 11:30am London time, 6:30am New York time). They will meet again for further discussions tomorrow.
Before then, Trump will participate in various events including an expanded bilateral meeting with the General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and a signing ceremony for commercial trade agreements with Vietnam.
Here is Trump’s schedule for his evening events with Chairman Kim, with times in local time and east coast US time.
6:15PM/6:15AM THE PRESIDENT arrives at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
6:30PM/6:30AM THE PRESIDENT participates in a greeting with the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
6:40PM/6:40 AM THE PRESIDENT participates in a 1:1 conversation with the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
7:00PM/7:00 AM THE PRESIDENT participates in a social dinner with the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
8:35PM/8:35AM THE PRESIDENT departs the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi en route to the RON
‘Tremendous crowds, so much love!’ – Trump’s tweets
Here are the president’s tweets since he landed in Vietnam 12 hours ago. In them, Trump has praised Vietnam and thanked its people for the “great reception” he has received, as well as suggesting North Korea could thrive in the same way as Vietnam “if it would denuclearize”, writing North Korea’s “potential is AWESOME”.
He has also taken a swipe at Democrat critics who he says “should stop talking about what I should do with North Korea and ask themselves instead why they didn’t do “it” during eight years of the Obama Administration.”
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the second summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un. The summit, which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam over the next two days, follows the pair’s historic meeting in Singapore in June last year.
Donald Trump hailed the first summit as a great success, repeatedly saying that his discussions with Kim had averted a war between the two countries. Trump has also claimed that Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the North Korean leader.
At the Singapore summit, Kim Jong-un agreed to the “denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” but it soon became clear that the US and North Korea had very different interpretations of what the phrase meant.
Since then, the North Korean state has carried out demolition work at a nuclear test site and a missile test facility, but according to US intelligence estimates, has taken no substantial steps towards disarmament, despite high hopes.
On Sunday, Donald Trump said the US will be “happy” if North Korea simply agrees to continue its moratorium on nuclear and missile testing at this week’s summit in Hanoi, which represented a lowering of already modest expectations for this second meeting.