S. Korean envoy supports Vietnam's candidacy for hosting second Trump-Kim meeting

By Khanh Lynh   January 8, 2019 | 08:07 pm PT
S. Korean envoy supports Vietnam's candidacy for hosting second Trump-Kim meeting
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June 2018. Photo by AFP
Talk of Vietnam possibly hosting the second Kim Jong Un-Donald Trump meeting seems to have South Korea’s backing.

The South Korean ambassador to Vietnam, Kim Do-hyon, said he highly regarded Vietnam’s contributions to denuclearization of and peace on the Korean peninsula.

"Vietnam has good relations with both South and North Korea and the U.S., and has experience in successfully hosting many international summits in recent years such as APEC.

"Therefore I believe that the second U.S.-North Korea summit being held in Vietnam would have tremendous significance," he said, referring to a planned meeting between the U.S. and North Korean leaders.

Vietnam had also hailed inter-Korean summits and the first U.S.-North Korea meeting last year, he said.

"I highly appreciate that Vietnam intends to provide a venue for the second U.S.-North Korea summit," he said, adding that his government hoped the summit would take place soon and there would be substantial progress toward complete denuclearization.

U.S. officials have discussed the schedule for the second meeting between Trump and Kim with North Korean officials in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, fueling speculation that Vietnam could host the event, Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported, quoting unnamed diplomatic sources in Seoul and Washington.

The report followed visits to Hanoi by North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho last November and Mark Lambert, the U.S. State Department's director for Korean policy, last month.

The governments of the three countries have however made no comments on the claim.

Trump and Kim first met at a historic summit in Singapore last June, with both leaders agreeing to work to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. But subsequent meetings between the two countries' officials failed to achieve significant progress as they disagreed on the definition of denuclearization.

Last Sunday Trump told reporters in Washington that the U.S. and North Korea are "negotiating a location" for a second summit.

White House scouting teams have visited Bangkok, Hanoi and Hawaii, according to CNN.

While the two sides had "a very good dialogue" and the American president had "indirectly" communicated with Kim, Trump said sanctions would remain in place until more progress is made.

In a nationally televised New Year address, Kim said, "I am always ready to sit together with the U.S. president anytime in the future, and will work hard to produce results welcomed by the international community without fail."

But he warned he might have to take an alternative path if U.S. sanctions and pressure against the country continued.

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