Trump hails North Korea's 'awesome' potential ahead of talks with Kim Jong Un

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Ahead of talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said there was “awesome” potential and “great opportunity” for North Korea, which would be sooner realized if it committed to denuclearization.

“Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“The potential is awesome, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un,” Trump continued, adding that “we will know very soon.”

Trump and Kim are due to meet at the Metropole hotel at 6:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) for a short 20-minute, one-on-one chat followed by a dinner with aides, before “a series of back and forth” meetings to be held on Thursday, the White House said.

Trump will be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Kim will bring Kim Yong Chol, his chief interlocutor with the US and North Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho.

Little progress made

Trump has so far made little progress in getting North Korea to agree to get rid of its weapons programs, but his relationship with Kim is unprecedented for a world leader.

Read more: Trump-Kim summit: Stakes are high for US to show progress on North Korea

He is also using economic incentives that are much sought after by North Korea to bolster his chances of denuclearization, following 70 years of hostility between their countries.

Trump said late last year he and Kim “fell in love,” and on the eve of his departure for the second summit said they had developed “a very, very good relationship.”

South Korea lowers expectations

South Korea on Wednesday appeared to relax its expectations of the meeting between Trump and Kim, saying any progress made in Hanoi would be a positive development.

Government spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said it would be unfair to call the summit a failure if it fell short of making “big deals,” saying “small deals” can be keys that open up bigger agreements later. “A thousand-mile journey begins with the first step,” he said.

law/jil (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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