Vietnam in shortlist to host North Korea-US summit

By Phan Anh   January 11, 2019 | 04:09 pm PT
Vietnam in shortlist to host North Korea-US summit
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Vietnam could host a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, media reports say.

The Korea Herald reported the information Friday, citing an unnamed South Korean foreign ministry official.

Singapore and Hawaii are also in the shortlist, but Hawaii is "an unrealistic location as it doesn’t have a North Korean embassy," another official said on condition of anonymity.

Discussions on possible locations for Trump and Kim’s next summit have been in focus since earlier this month, when Trump told the press the U.S. was "negotiating a location" and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that the summit would "take place soon."

Kim had said in a nationally televised New Year address that he is willing to meet Trump again anytime to achieve their common goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, Reuters reported.

"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," Kim said.

Earlier this week, U.S. and North Korean diplomats met several times in Hanoi to discuss the location for a second North Korea-U.S. summit, the Munhwa Ilbo reported, citing unnamed diplomatic sources in Seoul and Washington.

Vietnam could be a neutral location for the summit, said Eric Gomez, a researcher at the public policy think tank Cato Institute, U.S., in an exchange with VnExpress.

He said Vietnam could be a suitable mediator for the two countries because it has improved its relationship with the U.S. in recent years while not being an ally, and Hanoi could represent an interesting model for Pyongyang as Kim switches his priority to economic growth.

Kim Do-hyon, the South Korean ambassador to Vietnam, has also supported Vietnam as a candidate for the meeting.

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

"Therefore I believe that the second U.S.-North Korea summit being held in Vietnam would have tremendous significance," he said.

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