Trump to depart for Vietnam tomorrow, expects more progress

Monday, 25 Feb, 2019

The lack of progress since the first summit has fuelled scepticism in Washington over the North's intentions. Nor they have reported on his upcoming summit with Trump.

It will be Kim's second face-to-face encounter with Trump following their first meeting in Singapore in June previous year.

Trump has portrayed the ratcheting down of tensions with North Korea as evidence of his ability to tackle seemingly intractable foreign policy issues.

Democratic lawmakers have criticized Trump not taking a stronger stance against Kim, the authoritarian leader of North Korea who, like his late father, Kim Jon Il, has prioritized development of his country's nuclear capabilities.

Pompeo, during an interview Sunday on CNN's "State Of The Union", discussed the summit between the USA and North Korea slated for this week in Hanoi, Vietnam.

"If the present USA administration reads others' faces, lending an ear to others, it may face the shattered dream of the improvement of the relations with the DPRK and world peace and miss the rare historic opportunity", the news agency said in a commentary, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "We may not get everything done this week".

"A demonstrable step (toward denuclearization) is very much what President Trump is focused on", Pompeo said.

"President Trump has also said this is going to take time". It could take more than two days for the train to travel thousands of kilometers through China to Vietnam.

On Feb. 26, Vietnam will ban traffic on the road Kim is expected to take to Hanoi from a station on the Chinese border, state media said.

A train similar to one used in the past by Kim Jong Un has entered China, possibly carrying the North Korean leader on a multiday journey to Vietnam's capital for his summit with President Donald Trump. Workers decorated the area with flowers and flags of North Korea, the USA, and Vietnam.

Some media speculated about Kim Jong Un traveling to Beijing for a meeting with his ally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, before continuing towards Vietnam. He later said North Korea could become "one of the great economic powers" if it abandoned nuclear weapons. "Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!" he wrote in his Twitter account. "Sanctions placed on the border by China and Russian Federation have been very helpful".

US intelligence officials recently testified to Congress that North Korea was unlikely to ever give up its entire nuclear arsenal.

Pompeo said Sunday he's optimistic that Kim will give up his nuclear weapons, despite the track record of North Korea regimes refusing repeated requests by the USA over the years that it do so.

Their first meeting, in Singapore in June, produced a vaguely worded commitment from North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.