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US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will hold another day of talks at their second summit in eight months on Thursday, after swapping compliments at a dinner but giving no sign of progress on the key issue of denuclearisation.
Trump hailed “a very special relationship” when he met Kim in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Wednesday and said he was satisfied with the pace of talks, despite some criticism they were not moving quickly enough.
“Great meetings” and a “Very good dialogue,” Trump said on Twitter after dinner with Kim at the French-colonial-era Metropole hotel while the White House said the two planned to sign a “joint agreement” after further talks on Thursday.
The White House has given no indication of what the signing ceremony might involve, although the two sides’ discussions have included the possibility of a political statement to declare the 1950-53 Korean War over, which some critics see as premature.
They have also discussed partial denuclearisation measures, such as allowing inspectors to observe the dismantling of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, US and South Korean officials say.
US concessions could include opening liaison offices or clearing the way for inter-Korean projects, but critics say Trump risks squandering vital leverage if he gives away too much, too quickly.
The Hanoi summit was Trump’s second with Kim since an inconclusive meeting in Singapore in June that produced much fanfare but little substance and there had been little sign of concrete progress since.
The US president nevertheless appeared upbeat with Kim even as his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified at a congressional hearing in Washington, calling Trump a “conman” who knew in advance about the release of stolen emails aimed at hurting his Democratic rival in the 2016 election campaign.
On Thursday, they two leaders have a series of meetings scheduled at the Metropole, beginning with another one-on-one session lasting 45 minutes, the White House said.
After a “joint agreement signing ceremony” Trump plans a news conference at 3.50pm Hanoi time (0850 GMT).
Asked if he would declare a formal end to the Korean War, which concluded with an armistice, rather than a peace treaty that North Korea has long sought, Trumpsaid on Wednesday: “We’ll see.”
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