Trump and Kim to start Vietnam summit with dinner

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un will begin their high-profile summit on Wednesday with brief talks, followed by dinner.

They are expected to discuss a roadmap for ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons during the two-day meeting in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.

Prior to his meeting with Mr Kim, Mr Trump will meet Vietnam’s prime minister and other politicians.

The pair are then scheduled to dine at Hanoi’s five-star Metropole hotel.

Mr Trump tweeted in praise of the host country on Wednesday morning, writing: “Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize.”

“The potential is AWESOME,” he added.

What’s the Trump-Kim schedule looking like?

Their first encounter will be a 20-minute one-on-one meeting at 18:40 local time (11:40 GMT). It will be followed by dinner with their aides, according to the White House.

The two leaders will attend a series of meetings together on Thursday, but their exact agenda is unknown.

It’s expected that any major events – the signing of agreements or significant press conferences – will take place on Thursday.

What has North Korean media said about their meeting?

North Korean state media praised Mr Kim for making the 4,000km (2,485 mile) trip, with state paper Rodong Sinmun dedicating four out of its six pages to it.

It said North Koreans had reacted to his visit with “boundless excitement and emotion”, and urged people to work harder to “give him reports of victory when he returns”.

The paper also added that his overseas trip had cause some of its citizens sleepless nights, with one woman telling a state broadcaster saying that she “really missed” him.

Why is North Korea so isolated?

North Korea has been ruled since its creation in 1948 by three generations of the Kim family.

The country has a woeful human rights record, and the UN says its people live under “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations”.

Kim Jong-un carried out a brutal purge after taking charge of the country in 2011, ordering the death of his own uncle to secure his power.

About 140 senior military officers and government officials were executed between 2012 and 2016, according to South Korea’s Institute for National Security Strategy.

The economy is tightly controlled by the government, with widespread shortages of food, fuel and other basic necessities as the state funnels funds into the military and its nuclear weapons programme.

Reporters Without Borders ranks North Korea last in its World Press Freedom Index, with all news and information coming from state media.

Why are the leaders meeting again?

The Hanoi meeting is expected to build on the groundwork of what was achieved at the Singapore summit last June.

That meeting produced a vaguely-worded agreement, with both leaders agreeing to “work towards denuclearisation” – though it was never made clear what this would entail.

Little diplomatic progress was made following the summit. This time round, both leaders will be very conscious of the need to answer their critics with signs of concrete progress.

However, Mr Trump appeared to be managing expectations ahead of the summit, saying he was in “no rush” to press for North Korea’s denuclearisation.

“I don’t want to rush anybody. I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy,” he said.

Washington had previously said that North Korea had to unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons before there could be any sanctions relief.

Why Vietnam?

It’s an ideal location for many reasons. It has diplomatic relations with both the US and North Korea, despite once having been enemies with the US – and could be used by the US as an example of two countries working together and setting aside their past grievances.

Ideologically, both Vietnam and North Korea are communist countries, though Vietnam has over the last few decades opened up to foreign investment and emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

BBC