Against a backdrop of North Korea and American flags, US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un shook hands at the luxurious at the luxurious Metropole Hotel as they met for dinner. The two leaders showed clear signs of a diplomatic bromance with them appearing to share jokes. As reporters shouted out questions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave a journalist, probably the best reply ever when he indicated that he is willing to denuclearise. “If I'm not willing to do that, I won't be here right now,” Kim said when a journalist asked the question to him.” He however did not elaborate on what entails denuclearisation and said “Hope you give us more time to talk. Even a minute is precious.”
Even as the duo sat down for dinner before they got to talking nukes, Trump had said that he was in "no rush" to secure a deal over Pyongyang's nuclear programme. success would come over a "longer period of time," he added. In return for a formal declaration of end of the Korean war, which ended in 1953 with an armistice not a formal peace treaty, Kim might pledge to destroy North Korea's decades-old Yongbyon nuclear complex, which has long been at the heart of Pyongyang's atomic development, but shrouded in secrecy.
Multiple sanctions have been imposed on the North because of its weapons programmes and tensions soared in 2017 before a wave of detente. Kim, said of the meeting, “people who hold a sceptical view of our meeting" but he pledged to seek "great, ultimately good results".
"I think watching us have a great time will be like watching a scene from a fantasy movie," said the North Korean leader.
Images from the meeting sure were a far cry from the height of missile testing tensions in 2017 when Trump slammed Kim as “rocket man” and the younger leader branded the US president a “mentally deranged US dotard”
Trump described Kim as a "great leader" and said his country had "tremendous economic potential, unbelievable, unlimited" as he vowed to help North Korea achieve those goals. KNCA, North Korea's state news agency said that the duo had a candid and honest dialogue where sincere and deep opinions were exchanged.
Flag-waving crowds welcomed the leaders in Hanoi. “I hope North Korea will be in a better economic situation so that people there suffer less,” office worker Nguyen Thi Hong said. But some residents were unimpressed by the delegation's motorcades snarling the city's already clogged streets.
The state-run Rodong Sinmun newspapers plastered photographs of their handshake over its front page, one of them appearing to show Trump bowing slightly as he took Kim's hand featuring prominently.
Stimson Center's David Kim said, “But I would define success in terms of outcomes. A decent outcome if we can get some concrete and verifiable commitments toward denuclearisation," although the US would have to "trust but verify". Kim is looking for relief from biting sanctions for his deeply impoverished country, as well as security guarantees for him and his regime.