HANOI (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday for their second summit in less than a year, at which the U.S. side will urge tangible steps by North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
Trump flew into Hanoi on Air Force One, touching down just before 9 p.m. (1400 GMT).
“Just arrived in Vietnam,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “Thank you to all of the people for the great reception in Hanoi. Tremendous crowds, and so much love!”
Kim arrived by train early in the day after a three-day, 3,000-km (1,850-mile) journey from his capital, Pyongyang, through China. He completed the last stretch from a border station to Hanoi by car.
The two leaders, who seemed to strike up a surprisingly warm relationship at their first summit in Singapore last June, will meet for a brief one-on-one conversation on Wednesday evening, followed by a dinner, at which they will each be accompanied by two guests and interpreters, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.
They will meet again on Thursday, she said.
Their talks come eight months after the historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
While much of that first meeting was about breaking the ice after decades of bitter animosity between their two countries, this time there will be pressure to move beyond a vaguely worded commitment by Kim to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Trump’s critics at home have warned him against cutting a deal that would do little to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, urging specific, verifiable North Korean action to abandon the nuclear weapons that threaten the United States.
In return, Kim would expect significant U.S. concessions such as relief from punishing sanctions and a declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is at last formally over.
Trump, landing in darkness, waved as he disembarked Air Force One and was met by senior Vietnamese and U.S. officials. His motorcade passed crowds waving the flags of Vietnam, the United States and North Korea on its way to the JW Marriott Hotel, his accommodation for the two-day summit.
Earlier, Vietnamese officials greeted Kim at the station in Dong Dang town after he crossed the border from China by train. He got a red-carpet welcome with honor guard, military band and fluttering North Korean and Vietnamese flags.
Kim was accompanied by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, an important aide.