Trump-Kim summit kicks off: Trump touts relationship with strongman
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un began their second high-stakes summit Wednesday in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Trump touting his relationship with the North Korean strongman.
Trump and Kim shook hands, then sat down briefly to give remarks ahead of a dinner. Trump said he has high hopes for North Korea's economic success, while Kim, through a translator, emphasized the need for patience.
Trump touted what he described as the success of the first summit, noting that some people want denuclearization to "go faster," but he and Kim are "happy" with the pace.
As the leaders sat at dinner, Trump touted his "special" relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Present at the dinner were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, and interpreters.
According to the White House print pooler, the White House tried to disallow any print reporters from entering the dinner spray, citing sensitivities of shouted questions. But photographers protested, and one print reporter was allowed into the dining room.
Trump said there will be a news conference "at some point during the day" on Thursday, after the conclusion of their meetings.
Trump and Kim then broke up their brief sit-down to head to dinner.
Trump said he tells anyone who will listen that he thinks North Korea will have a tremendous economic future. Moreover, the president said the U.S. will help North Korea get there, although he offered no specifics on that.
After their handshake, Trump and Kim sat down for their first conversation.
Kim said there has been hostility in the past from the outside, but they've been able to overcome all those obstacles. Kim said he believes the last 261 days required much patience, but today he and Trump are sitting next to each other, giving Kim hope for success.
"Well I want to just say it's an honor to be with Chairman Kim," Trump said, adding that Vietnam has "rolled out the red carpet."
The president added he thought the first summit was a "great success."
The greatest progress, Trump said, is that his and Kim's relationship is "really a good one."
The Trump administration's specific goals for the meeting are still unclear. The administration has insisted denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the ultimate objective but hasn't been clear on how it intends to get there.
On Sunday, Trump said he was happy as long as North Korea continued to refrain from nuclear and missile tests, which it has done since before the leaders' first summit last year.
"What's going to happen, I can't tell you," Trump told governors from across the country at a dinner Sunday night. "I think eventually it would but I can't tell you. And I'm not in a rush. I don't want to rush anybody. I just don't want testing. As long as there's no testing we're happy."
Senior administration officials told reporters last week they hope to reach a shared definition of denuclearization, which hasn't been reached in the eight months since the last summit in Singapore.
Senior White House staffers and the president himself have tried to lower expectations for this second summit, after North Korea showed little tangible progress towards denuclearization since last year's meeting in Singapore.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News that only the media have high expectations for the summit, because they want to see the president fail.
"I think that the only one setting high expectations is probably the media because they're looking for reasons to attack this president," Sanders told Fox News last Friday. "They hate the idea that he's done so well on something his predecessors couldn't do anything on."
Trump has taken a wait-and-see approach to the summit. He told the governors at the White House Sunday that he believes he and Kim "see eye to eye, I believe, but you'll be seeing it more and more over the next couple of days one way or the other."