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Trump-Kim Summit

Kim stresses willingness to denuclearize at Hanoi summit

Trump says eventual deal will be 'really good' for North Korea

HANOI -- U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are deep into the second and final day of their summit in the Vietnamese capital, where the young dictator assured reporters he is willing to denuclearize.

"If I was not, I wouldn't be here," a smiling Kim told the media on Thursday, as the two leaders gave brief remarks before heading into a bilateral meeting that lasted about two hours.

"That might be the best answer you've ever heard," Trump said of Kim's comment.

Trump and Kim were meeting at the historic Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in downtown Hanoi, with the world awaiting an outcome that could define the future of Pyongyang's nuclear threat.

Asked about the prospect of opening liaison offices in both countries as a part of a denuclearization deal, Kim said it would be "welcomeable." Trump said it was a "good idea."

Experts are speculating the two leaders may strike a deal that includes a declaration of the end of the Korean War. Trump touched on this, saying: "No matter what happens we're going to ultimately have a deal that's really good for Chairman Kim and his country. ... That's where it's all leading." However, the president added, "It doesn't mean we're doing it in one day or two days."

After meeting at the hotel on Wednesday, the two leaders had kicked off Thursday's discussions with a 45-minute, one-on-one meeting in the morning. They also appeared before reporters before that one-on-one session.

Asked whether he is confident about reaching a deal, Kim said: "It's too early to tell. But I wouldn't say I am pessimistic. For what I feel right now, I do have a feeling that good results will come out."

This is believed to have been Kim's first response to a foreign reporter's question as North Korea's leader.

Trump was also upbeat. "Very importantly, the relationship is, you know, just very strong," he said. "And when you have a good relationship, a lot of good things happen."

Yet the president was cautious about the chances of agreeing on concrete steps toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula. There is "no rush," Trump said. "We just want to do the right deal. ... Speed is not important."

Trump and Kim are to attend a joint agreement signing ceremony in the afternoon, following a working lunch, according to the White House. The U.S. president will later host a news conference to explain the deal, leaving the country in the evening.

Trump may use the press event to distract attention from former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who leveled an array of charges against him in public congressional testimony Wednesday, Washington time.

Both leaders had previously voiced optimism over delivering progress in denuclearization and peace talks. Trump said on Wednesday that the Hanoi summit's results "hopefully will be equal or greater than the first" meeting, held in Singapore last June. Kim also showed confidence, saying he would do his best to make it a success.

The American leader hinted that the deal will cover denuclearization and economic development in North Korea. The businessman-turned-president said he can help North Korea develop its economy like Vietnam if it takes steps toward denuclearizing.

"Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth," Trump tweeted this week. "North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize. The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un. We will know fairly soon -- Very Interesting!"

The U.S. is likely to pressure North Korea to accept inspections of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, 100 km north of Pyongyang. The largest nuclear complex in the country has produced plutonium and highly enriched uranium -- key materials in building nuclear weapons.

"You may see the reporting in the summit documents for specific commitments like North Korea commits to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility which they talked about publicly," said Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington.

"And maybe even beyond that to dismantle all these bomb-making material facilities, some of which are outside it," Wit said.

North Korea has other nuclear sites besides Yongbyon, American media outlets have reported, quoting U.S. intelligence agency sources.

Pyongyang, meanwhile, demands "corresponding measures" for letting inspectors into its nuclear facilities. North Korea is also pushing for what many see as a symbolic declaration of an end to the Korean War as well as the easing of economic sanctions.

Asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether he would declare an end to the war, Trump did not rule it out and said, "We'll see."

Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, has been narrowing the gap with counterpart Kim Hyok Chol on such matters for weeks. Earlier this month, Biegun called the talks productive after returning from Pyongyang. They resumed their meetings here in the days before the summit.

Washington can declare an end to the Korean War to entice Pyongyang into dismantling nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and elsewhere, experts say.

"The U.S. can use the declaration as a card to make North Korea offer action plans toward denuclearization," said Jin Chang-soo, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute in Seongnam, South Korea.

"The plans should include dismantlement of Yongbyon plus alpha," Jin said. It could be better if North Korea can show a road map for the denuclearization process, he said.

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