State of the Union: Trump announces Vietnam, date for second Kim Jong Un meeting

President Donald Trump during his State of the Union address on Tuesday said he will meet with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un for a second time later this month in Vietnam.

The meeting is scheduled for February 27 and 28, Trump said as he touted his efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

“As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Trump said. “Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months.”

“If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed,” Trump added. “Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.”

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Associated Press

During the president’s June 2018 meeting with Kim in Singapore, the North Korean leader pledged to work toward denuclearization. But the US intelligence community has seen little progress towards that goal and in a recent report said Pyongyang is “unlikely” to give up its nuclear weapons program.

“Pyongyang has not conducted any nuclear-capable missile or nuclear tests in more than a year, has declared its support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and has reversibly dismantled portions of its WMD infrastructure,” the report stated.

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But the report added that North Korea retains weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities and said the intelligence community “continues to assess that it is unlikely to give up all of its WMD stockpiles, delivery systems, and production capabilities. North Korean leaders view nuclear arms as critical to regime survival.”

“We continue to observe activity inconsistent with full denuclearization,” the intelligence community’s report said.

Trump has sparred with his intel chiefs in recent weeks over their diverging views with him on an array of issues, including North Korea.

Meanwhile, North Korea is currently engaged in efforts to ensure its nuclear and ballistic capabilities are not vulnerable to missile strikes, UN monitors said this week.

Despite doubts of North Korea‘s willingness to fully denuclearize, Trump seems hopeful he can get the job done.

Stephen Biegun, the US envoy to North Korea, traveled to Pyongyang on Wednesday to meet with officials in preparation for the impending summit.

In Trump‘s first year in the White House, he routinely traded threats and insults with Kim from across the globe. His tone toward the North Korea leader changed in 2018 and has continued to soften since they met last June.

Trump has gone as far to say he and Kim are “in love.”

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