Trump-Kim Summit: Leaders Meeting for Formal Talks in Vietnam

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump on Thursday morning at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, before their meeting.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

By The New York Times

• President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, have sat down for a one-on-one meeting, beginning the second day of talks.

• The official schedule includes a “Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony” on Thursday afternoon, raising expectations of some sort of diplomatic breakthrough.

• Possible elements of an agreement include a “peace declaration” that could lead to a formal treaty ending the Korean War; the opening of liaison offices in Washington and Pyongyang; and the easing of sanctions to allow joint economic projects between North and South Korea.

• It is unclear what steps North Korea might take to dismantle its nuclear weapons, but the focus is on its Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex.

Here’s a look at how the day is shaping up.

Wednesday, when Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim arrived in the Vietnamese capital, was a day for mutual compliments and photo opportunities.

Thursday is set as a day of back-to-back meetings.

The one-on-one get-together is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the Sofitel Legend Metropole. Forty-five minutes later, the meeting will be broadened to include other officials.

At 11:55 a.m., the leaders will sit down to a working lunch, and then take part in the signing ceremony.

Vietnamese police officers escorting the motorcade transporting Mr. Kim after his dinner with Mr. Trump on Wednesday.CreditYe Aung Thu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Trump is scheduled to hold a news conference before leaving Hanoi at 5:15 p.m.

South Korean officials have said that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim could agree ona joint statement declaring an end to the Korean War. It would be a political statement, not a formal peace treaty.

The war, which ran from 1950 to 1953, was halted by an armistice, or truce, rather than a negotiated peace treaty: The fighting may have ended, but the war did not. Washington still keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea to prevent the war from rekindling.

The United States and North Korea have yet to agree on what “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” means.

Washington wants the “fully verifiable” dismantling of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, fissile materials and production facilities.

North Korea has indicated that it will not give up its nuclear deterrent until the United States removes its troops from South Korea and its bombers, aircraft carriers and other nuclear-capable military assets from the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Trump says North Korea has “tremendous economic potential” and, as a sweetener, he has dangled the prospect of robust trade ties with the United States, South Korea and other nations if the North gives up its missiles.

As Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim meet, one major issue, North Korea’s human rights violations, is not likely to be a main talking point.

But rights activists say there should be no glossing over the totalitarian regime’s suppression of free speech and its imprisonment of tens of thousands of political prisoners in a network of gulags.

“North Korea is arguably the worst human rights-abusing government in the world today, so any dialogue with Kim Jong-un should not leave rights off the table,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

In Vietnam, meanwhile, dissidents complained that they were being prevented from leaving their homes or had been warned by security officials to reject interview requests from members of the foreign news media. Nearly 100 prisoners of conscience were in Vietnamese jails last year, according to a tally by rights groups. Choe Sang-Hun

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