Trump and Kim Begin Dinner at Metropole: Hanoi Summit Update

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walks out from the Marina Bay Sands during a city tour in Singapore, 11 June 2018. Others are not identified. EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM

U.S. President Donald Trump held a one-on-one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday before the two leaders dined together with aides, as they kicked off their second summit aimed at a deal for Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear arsenal.

Trump met with Vietnamese leaders before the dinner, and watched as three of the country’s airlines signed commercial deals with U.S. companies. Kim wasn’t seen leaving his hotel before meeting Trump in the evening. The main summit is set for Thursday.

White House Excludes Some Journalists From Dinner (7:27 p.m.)

The White House excluded some of the journalists covering Trump from a brief availability with the two leaders at the beginning of their dinner.

“Due to the sensitive nature of the meetings we have limited the pool for the dinner to a smaller group, but ensured that representation of photographers, TV, radio and print poolers are all in the room,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are continuing to negotiate aspects of this historic summit and will always work to make sure the U.S. media has as much access as possible.”

It wasn’t clear if the North Korean side requested that the number of reporters allowed into the event be reduced or if it was the White House’s decision. Before they were excluded from the dinner, some of the reporters following Trump shouted questions at the U.S. president and at Kim while they shook hands.

On Tuesday, the White House media center and several Western news organizations were forced to abruptly vacate the Melia hotel in Hanoi before the arrival of Kim, who’s staying at the property.

Kim Says U.S., North Korea Have Overcome Obstacles (6:39 p.m.)

Kim said through a translator that the U.S. and North Korea overcame unspecified obstacles ahead of his second meeting with Trump.

Trump called their first summit in Singapore “very successful” and said “I think this one will hopefully be equal or greater.”

North Korea, Trump said, “has tremendous economic potential. I look forward to watching it happen.”

“We have some big meetings scheduled tomorrow,” Trump said, adding that he would hold a news conference on Thursday.

The North Korean leader smiled throughout Trump’s remarks but said little himself.

Trump and Kim Shake Hands Before Dinner (6:29 p.m.)

Trump arrived at the historic Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel at about 6:17 p.m. in Hanoi to meet Kim for dinner. Kim departed his hotel at about the same time.

The two leaders came face-to-face for the first time since June, shaking hands in front of reporters, before entering a private meeting expected to last about 20 minutes. They’ll be joined by aides for the meal afterward.

“I think they’ll be very successful,” Trump said of their talks. “Great relationship.”

Asked whether the two leaders would declare an end to the Korean War, Trump said “we’ll see. We’ll be seeing.”

Trump answered “no” when a reporter asked whether he’d retreated from his expectation that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons.

Kim Bringing General and Foreign Minister to Dinner (3:56 p.m.)

Kim will be joined at dinner with Trump by Kim Yong Chol, a general and vice chairman of the central committee of the Worker’s Party of North Korea, and the country’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, the White House said.

Kim Yong Chol, a former North Korean spy chief, has repeatedly visited Washington since the Trump administration opened talks with Pyongyang. He met the president at the White House last month in a prelude to the Hanoi summit.

Trump will be joined by his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the White House said. Both sides will have one translator each.

Parts of the Metropole property were closed to guests Wednesday morning in preparation for the meeting.

Trump Picks on ‘Da Nang Dick’ in Tweet (3:36 p.m.)

The president took a break from preparations for his high-stakes meeting with the North Korean leader to poke at a favorite foil on Twitter.

Trump, who received five deferments from the draft for the Vietnam War, revels in mocking Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who does not publicly use the nickname “Dick,” for controversy over his Vietnam-era military service. Blumenthal was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves from 1970 to 1976 and served in the U.S., according to the Hartford Courant, but in the past repeatedly claimed he served in Vietnam.

After the New York Times reported on Blumenthal’s false claims in May 2010, the senator acknowledged that he had “misspoken” and expressed regret.

One of Trump’s deferments from the Vietnam draft was medical, for alleged bone spurs in his feet. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, plans to say in testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that Trump asked him to handle “the negative press” over his medical deferment during the 2016 campaign.

But Trump never provided any medical records documenting the bone spurs to his former lawyer, according to Cohen’s prepared testimony. Cohen says Trump told him: “You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”

The White House has called Cohen a liar, noting he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Trump Says Kim ‘Wants to Do Something Great’ (12:15 p.m.)

Trump said his second summit with Kim “may very well turn out to be successful” during a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Dinner with Kim on Wednesday will be “a very big meeting,” Trump said.

Kim “wants to do something great,” and could rapidly turn North Korea into an economic power, Trump said.

Trump, Trong Watch Companies Sign Aircraft Deals (11:42 a.m.)

Trump and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong watched silently as Vietnamese airline executives signed a series of business deals with U.S. companies, all of which were in the works before Wednesday’s meeting.

VietJet Aviation JSC said it would purchase 100 Boeing Co. 737 MAX aircraft and also signed an agreement to purchase engines and maintenance services from General Electric Co.

Bamboo Airways agreed to buy 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

And Vietnam Airlines signed an agreement with Sabre Corp. to provide technology solutions.

Trump Says Boeing Deal to Be Announced in Hanoi (11:12 a.m.)

Trump expressed admiration for the Vietnamese economy as he opened a meeting with Trong, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party, at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

“I just see what you’ve done and I’m very proud of what you’ve done,” Trump said.

He said he and Trong would announce a deal involving Boeing Co. later on Wednesday. Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways plans to order as many as 25 Boeing aircraft this year, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

‘We’re going to be signing some very big trade deals,” Trump said.

North Korea Could Be Like Vietnam, Trump Says (9:49 a.m.)

The president began his morning with a tweet comparing North Korea and Vietnam, a developing Communist nation that’s seen significant investment from American companies since re-establishing diplomatic relations with the U.S. about 25 years ago.

Trump has repeatedly tried to appeal to Kim’s desire for economic development in his poverty-stricken country, promising sanctions relief and foreign investment if the North Korean leader moves to abandon his nuclear program. But since their first summit in June, satellite imagery and leaks of U.S. intelligence suggest North Korea has continued to manufacture bombs and missiles. DM


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