President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un shook hands and exchanged smiles as they joined for a dinner meeting at a historic Hanoi hotel – and Trump proclaimed their relationship a ‘good one.’
‘Our relationship is a very special relationship,’ Trump said, in one of several comments proclaiming a personal bond.
The two men met in the Vietnamese capital in front of a bank of six flags from each nation, for the first meeting for the pair since their historic summit in Singapore in June.
‘It’s an honor to be with Chairman Kim. It’s an honor to be together,’ said Trump, who repeatedly praised his counterpart.
The admiration may be mutual. In one remark, Kim praised Trump’s ‘courageous decision’ to open dialogue, according to how his translator recounted it.
In introductory remarks, Trump did much of the talking – and one again dangled the promise of prosperity for North Korea, and addressed critics who noted their initial joint statement was vague and hard to measure.
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President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shake hands at the top of their meeting in Hanoi
‘It’s great to be with you. We had a very successful first summit,’ Trump said. ‘I felt it was very successful. Some people would like to see it go quicker. I’m satisfied, you’re satisfied. We want to be happy with what we’re doing.’
‘I thought the first summit was a great success, I think this one hopefully will be equal or greater than the first,’ the president added.
As he has repeatedly, Trump pointed to personal chemistry with the reclusive leader of the family-led one-party dictatorship – although his secretary of state says North Korea is still a nuclear threat, having tested a hydrogen bomb and months ago conducted a skein of missile tests.
‘We made a lot of progress and I think the biggest progress was our relationship is really a good one,’ Trump said.
The two leaders smiled as they were seated before dinner
People walk past a TV broadcasting a news report on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in Seoul, South Korea, February 27, 2019
Trump repeatedly hailed the personal relationship between the two men
US President Donald Trump (L) gestures as he speaks with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27, 2019
Trump’s sit-down came hours after Michael Cohen’s testimony was released
Trump complemented a New York Times photographer in one of many asides to Kim
In a spat with the White House, two reporters who had earlier asked Trump questions were not permitted to witness the start of dinner
Dangling economic enticements that he hopes will persuade Kim to give up nuclear weapons his nation has been developing for years, Trump said: ‘I think that your country has tremendous economic potential. Unbelievable. Unlimited,’ Trump said, seated across from Kim.
Both men smiled before cameras as they exchanged a handshake.
A reporter asked Trump about former lawyer Michael Cohen’s bombshell testimony in Congress that calls Trump a ‘conman.’ Trump shook his head and didn’t respond.
That may not have gone over well with the White House staff. At a subsequent photo-op, two wire service reporters were excluded, including the one who had asked about Cohen, whose bombshell testimony touched on Stormy Daniels, a Trump Moscow tower project, and Wikileaks.
According to a statement issued by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders: ‘Due to the sensitive nature of the meetings we have limited the pool for the dinner to a smaller group, but ensured that representation of photographers, tv, radio and print Poolers are all in the room. We are continuing to negotiate aspects of this historic summit and will always work to make sure the U.S. media has as much access as possible.’
For that event, the two men were seated at a round table with a floral centerpiece. Their meal had not yet been served.
Once again, Trump talked up their bond.
‘Our relationship is a very special relationship,’ the president said.
After Kim spoke in Korean, a translator said: ‘They have exchanged very interesting dialogue with each other.’
That prompted a joke from Trump. ‘If you could have heard that dialogue. What you would pay for that dialogue … It was good.’
Then Trump stepped in again. ‘We’re going to have a very busy day tomorrow and we’ll probably have a pretty quick dinner.’
‘And a lot of things are going to be solved I hope. It’ll lead to really a wonderful situation long term. And our relationship is a very special relationship,’ the president said.
Earlier Trump said: ‘It’s great to be with you. We had a very successful first summit. I felt it was very successful. Some people would like to see it go quicker. I’m satisfied, you’re satisfied. We want to be happy with what we’re doing.’
Complimenting their host country, Trump said: ‘It’s an honor to be with Chairman Kim. It’s an honor to be together in really a country, Vietnam, where they’ve really rolled red carpet. And they’re very proud to have us.’
Minutes earlier, as they first met, the two men engaged in brief remarks, then looked ahead toward press photographers with serious expressions on their faces. Eventually they smiled.
Trump and Kim were to dine along with top aides. Trump said the meal would be a ‘pretty quick dinner’
‘Thank you very much,’ Trump told reporters.
That was to be succeeded by brief remarks by the two men.
A specially created logo featured two shaking hands. The two men joined at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in the Vietnamese capital.
Before the two men gathered, Trump used Twitter to take on ‘false reporting’ about his plans.
‘All false reporting (guessing) on my intentions with respect to North Korea. Kim Jong Un and I will try very hard to work something out on Denuclearization & then making North Korea an Economic Powerhouse. I believe that China, Russia, Japan & South Korea will be very helpful!’ the president wrote.
Trump began his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un by predicting progress at his upcoming meal with his counterpart and calling the North Korean dictator ‘my friend.’
‘Hopefully great things will happen later on,’ Trump said in brief remarks Wednesday as he met with the president of Vietnam and a delegation.
Trump also lavished praise upon Vietnam for its ‘thriving’ economy, while touting economic growth in the U.S. as well – holding out the local economy as a model for North Korea to pursue.
He announced a deal to have Vietnamese airlines purchase U.S.-made planes – even as it continues to ship billions worth of sneakers and shrimp to U.S. ports. Other agreements would bring the total value of the agreements to $21 billion, according to an administration offical.
Trump also called the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam an ‘example’ of what can become of North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons. Trump also posed in front of a statue of the nation’s revolutionary founder Kim Jong Un.
‘You really are an example as to what can happen with good thinking,’ Trump said as he sat down with President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam. He touted Vietnam as an economic model that North Korea could pursue
Trump, who landed Tuesday, has already met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong for the signing of several commercial trade deals between their two airline industries
The motorcade carrying U.S. President Donald Trump drive past Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday
President Donald Trump meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the Office of Government Hall in Hanoi on Wednesday
Trump talked up the economic model – where the communist government has maintained one-party political control but opened up economically and established vigorous trade relations with the U.S.
‘Unemployment and all of the numbers that you would look at are at historically positive numbers. So I just see what you’ve done and I’m very proud of what you’ve done,’ Trump said.
He also touted agreements negotiated in advance of the summit for Vietnam to purchase U.S.-made products, and touted a deal with airplane manufacturer Boeing. He also claimed it would help reduce the U.S. $37 billion trade deficit with Vietnam.
‘And I know today, whether it’s Boeing and a couple of others we’re going to be signing some very big trade deals where you’re buying a lot of different products from the United States which we greatly appreciate. We’re reducing the deficit very substantially, as are many countries,’ Trump said.
According to a senior administration official, deals totaling $21 billion included VietJet buying 100 Boeing 737-Max jets and 215 GE/CFM joint venture engines. Bamboo airways will buy 10 Boeing 787 planes, and Vietnam airlines will buy $100 million in services and technology from Sabre Corporation.
Soon after Trump inked the deals, longtime lawyer Michael Cohen’s prepared testimony was released. It contained potentially damaging claims – including that Cohen overheard a campaign phone conversation where Roger Stone told candidate Trump that Julian Assange told him in advance about dumping anti- Hillary Clinton emails.
Cohen also says Trump repeatedly inquired about the status of a Moscow tower project in 2016, and even directed him to threaten schools so they would not release his academic information. Cohen also says Trump told him to fend off reporters and avoid answering questions about the medical deferment that helped keep him from serving in Vietnam.
Trump and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong stand before a signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi
U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing signed agreements with VietJet for 100 737 MAX planes and with Bamboo Airways for 10 787 Dreamliners as the two leaders looked on Wednesday
Trump called the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam an ‘example’ of what can become of North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons
Trump thanked Vietnam for hosting the summit and for agreeing to the new trade deals with American companies
‘We’re going to be signing some very big trade deals where you’re buying a lot of different products from the United States which we greatly appreciate,’ Trump told Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong
U.S. President Donald Trump met with his Vietnamese counterpart President Nguyen Phu Trong hours before he is set to sit down with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Trump and President Nguyen Phu Trong have already presided over a signing ceremony of several commercial trade deals between their two airline industries.
U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing signed agreements with VietJet for 100 737 MAX planes and with Bamboo Airways for 10 787 Dreamliners as the two leaders looked on Wednesday. And U.S.-based aviation technology company Sabre also inked a deal with Vietnam Airlines.
Later, Trump smiled and held a Vietnamese flag as he met with the country’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and inked a series of agreements.
Bad timing: ‘Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great,’ Michael Cohen will testify, in language that was released during Trump’s first day in Hanoi
Trump previously complained about the trade imbalance during his visit here in 2016, when it was $32 billion. ”We have to get rid of the trading imbalance, we can’t have a trade imbalance,’ the president said then as he was promoting his ‘America First’ push on trade.
Kim visited a factory in Hanoi on Tuesday, getting a first hand look at some of the economic progress being made, in a nation that has regularly surpassed 6 per cent growth and achieved per-capita income several fold greater than in North Korea.
Trump review the guard of honor during a meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong ahead of the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi
President Donald Trump waves a Vietnam flag as he meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, waving an American flag
A statement from Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung called for residents to ‘maintain and sustain Hanoians’ code of behavior’ as Trump pays a visit to the city
President Donald Trump began his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un with another optimistic tweet, calling the North Korean dictator ‘my friend’
DOWN TO BUSINESS: Trump touted a deal for Vietnam to purchase planes. The U.S. trade deficit with the nation has grown by $5 billion since Trump visited two years ago
Who was Vietnam’s revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh?
Born in 1890 in what was then French Indochina, Ho Chi Minh spent parts of his early life in France, the Soviet Union and China.
After working with Chinese Communists in the 1930s he became leader of the nationalist Viet Minh movement in 1941.
The Viet Minh fought for Vietnam’s independence from Japanese occupying forces during World War II and from Vietnam’s colonial ruler, France.
Ho declared himself Vietnam’s leader after Japan’s defeat in 1945.
But it was not until 1954 – when Ho’s Communist forces defeated the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu – that France finally withdrew.
Vietnam was split in two, with Ho’s Communists taking charge of the North, allied to China and the Soviet Union, while the South remained an anti-Communist bastion supported by the United States.
Ho Chi Minh, right, pictured with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1965, was the founder of Communist Vietnam
Elections were planned to reunify the country by 1956 but these never took place.
As leader of the North, Ho was determined to undermine the South and backed the Viet Cong guerrilla forces who were staging a Communist insurgency there.
His slogan – ‘nothing is as dear to the heart of the Vietnamese as independence and liberation’ – became an inspiration to his supporters.
He backed the invasion of Laos in the 1950s which led to the birth of the Ho Chi Minh Trail – a supply line which allowed Ho to equip Communists in the South and which would frustrate U.S. forces during the Vietnam War.
By the 1960s U.S. troops were arriving in Vietnam to bolster the South. As the conflict escalated Ho sent a defiant message to Washington, saying: ‘We will never agree to negotiate under the threat of bombing.’
He remained President of North Vietnam until his death in 1969.
Saigon – the former capital of the South – was renamed Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate him after its fall in 1975.
In addition his body was embalmed and put on public display in a mausoleum in Hanoi, where visitors can travel to see the preserved corpse.
’Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,’ Trump wrote, once again introducing a carrot of sorts on the day he is set to dine with Kim along with two top aides to each leader.
‘The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un,’ Trump added. ‘We will know fairly soon – Very Interesting!’
Trump also took a shot at his critics, including skeptics who fear he will make major concessions to the North Koreans like declaring a formal end to the Korean War or even discussing eventual U.S. troop withdrawals without getting concrete steps in return.
‘The Democrats should stop talking about what I should do with North Korea and ask themselves instead why they didn’t do ‘it’ during eight years of the Obama Administration?’ Trump wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Trump fired off the tweets after landing in Hanoi Tuesday evening after a flight halfway around the world.
Per capita income in Vietnam is nearly double that in North Korea, $2,400 compared to $1,300, achieving 7 per cent growth and with robust foreign investment and growing trade with the U.S.
South Korea is much farther along the development path, with per capita income of $26,000.
The president is relying on his brand of personal diplomacy to try to score a breakthrough here with Kim, after failing to see progress on denuclearization after a vague letter reached after the Singapore summit.
He has previously said they fell ‘in love’ at their Singapore summit, and has repeatedly stressed that the hermetic regime could become wildly successful if it modernizes and relinquishes its nuclear weapons.
His bid to establish camaraderie with Kim comes despite dark signals that continue to emerge out of the closed society he governs.
Kim forced his uncle to watch colleagues get blown apart with anti-aircraft guns before his own death, according to a defector.
Kang Cheol-Hwan said he was told by eye witnesses that two men who worked with Kim’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, were killed by firing squad.
The two men were brought in front of a barrage of eight anti-aircraft guns and had lumps of iron stuffed into their mouths.
Trump landed in Hanoi Tuesday evening local time for his second summit meeting with Kim Jong in a bid to try to persuade the leader of the hermetic regime to relinquish nuclear weapons.
The mayor of the city urged residents to be on their best behavior during the summit between North Korean and U.S. leaders so they can show the world the ‘civilized, elegant, friendly and hospitable people’ of the nation’s capital.
The statement from Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung, posted on the city’s website Tuesday, called for residents to ‘maintain and sustain Hanoians’ code of behavior’.
A Red Boat Fish Sauce employee looks inside a container at the company’s factory in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Gourmands are making pilgrimages to Red Boat’s riverside operations on Phu Quoc Island off the southwest coast of Vietnam, right on the border with Cambodia. Vietnam has developed robust trade relations with the U.S.
Vietnam’s growth rate has regularly surpassed 6 per cent
A crane stands at a construction site of the Vinhomes Metropolis Lieu Giai building, developed by Vingroup JSC, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. The nation of 96 million people has embraced free-market reforms over the past few decades, leading to surging growth under an authoritarian one-party Communist government that offers the same political stability as China
LETS BUILD A BRIDGE: A Container ship at Saigon river in Vietnam. The U.S. is Vietnam’s top export market
Vietnam police personnel guard the compound of the National Convention Center in Hanoi, the venue of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN on September 11, 2018
Trump is to hold a ‘social dinner’ with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday
Trump referenced ‘my friend’ KimJong Un and cited North Korea’s economic potential
The president also attacked his predecessor for failing to solve the North Korea problem, which has bedeviled U.S. policymakers for decades
HOW TRUMP DODGED VIETNAM DRAFT WITH THE DIAGNOSIS OF BONE SPURS
Trump avoided visiting Vietnam in 1968 when a doctor declared that he had a bone spur in his heel so he couldn’t be drafted into the U.S. Army.
He earned five deferments from the draft – including one medical exemption in 1968 on the basis of a bone spur in his heel.
The daughters of the doctor who allegedly carried out the inspection have claimed the medical finding was a favor.
Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, and Sharon Kessel, 53, told the New York Times, that their father Dr. Larry Braunstein diagnosed Donald Trump in 1968.
Dr. Larry Braunstein died in 2007, and the Times was unable find any documentary evidence to back up the daughters’ claims, which surfaced when the newspaper contacted the family based on an anonymous tip. The daughters are both Democrats and say they do not like Donald Trump.
‘I know it was a favor,’ Elysa Braunstein told the Times, adding that her father had implied that Trump did not have the foot ailment that disqualified him from military service. ‘But did he examine him? I don’t know,’ she said.
Trump was briefly considered available for the Vietnam War draft in 1966 and 1968 (class ‘1-A’) but spent most of his time on the Selective Service rolls in a student deferment (‘2-S’) or available only in a ‘national emergency’ (‘1-Y’) before ultimately being disqualified (‘4-F’)
Multiple doctors would have been involved in Donald Trump’s classification as 1-Y, the now-defunct category for medical deferment that was later merged into 4-F.
Local draft boards relied upon physical exams overseen by military doctors, although men could bring in documentation from private doctors noting any medical concerns.
Often, a civilian specialist working with the exam station might be asked to review a case and make a recommendation.
The local draft board would then finalize a man’s classification.
Speaking to reporters in Iowa during the presidential primary season in 2015, he said he couldn’t remember which foot was afflicted.
The cavalier brushoff has long stuck in the craw of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who was captured in Vietnam after crashing the plane he was piloting, and tortured for years by the North Vietnamese.
‘One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America,’ McCain said last month.
‘And the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong.’
SPURRED TO ACTION: President Trump walks by a Vietnamese soldier as he arrives for summit talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un
Formal welcome: Vietnamese soldiers in dress uniform were lined up to welcome Trump to Hanoi after Air Force One taxied
On Wednesday evening, President Trump is set to hold his first meetings with Kim since their June summit in Singapore.
They are scheduled to have a brief one-on-one greeting, followed by a ‘social dinner,’ where Trump will be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Kim is expected to be accompanied by Kim Yung Chol, the general and senior leader who delivered a letter to Trump from Kim, as well as by another associate.
Trump also meets with Vietnamese leaders earlier on Wednesday.
Kim meanwhile, has extended his trip through Saturday, according to state-run North Korean media. He will tack on a ‘official goodwill visit’ in the country after the summit. A top aide known as Kim’s butler scouted out locations about a week ago, including the picturesque Halong Bay where Kim’s grandfather Kim Il-sung visited in 1964.
Trump is expected to depart Thursday night.
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