Trumps emphasizes N. Korea's potential for growth ahead of summit

25, Feb. 2019

SEOUL AJU - U.S. President Donald Trump emphasized North Korea's potential for rapid economic growth as leader Kim Jong-un is on his way to Vietnam for a second summit to seek progress in the stalled process of denuclearizing the isolated country in return for economic and political benefits.

Trump said North Korea has "more potential for rapid growth than any other nation" because of its location and people. "Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the world," he tweeted.

In Hanoi, North Korean and U.S. officials have held a series of talks to make preparations for the summit. North Korean officials were seen visiting and checking the conference and business center at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

The heavily-guarded hotel has been cited as the possible venue for a two-day meeting between Kim and Trump.

With his emphasis on the principle of mutually recognizing and respecting each. Kim has said he would wait patiently and move step by step to denuclearization. In his New Year message, he warned he would find a new way if Washington misjudges his patience and clings to sanctions without reciprocating a series of proactive steps for denuclearization.

At an inter-Korean summit in September last year, Kim offered to permanently dismantle facilities for ballistic missile launches and engine testing in the Sohae space center, which has played an important role in the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). U.S. officials have urged North Korea to take further steps.

Kim wants active multilateral negotiations to replace the truce agreement, which ended the 1950-53 Korean War, with a permanent peace treaty. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has suggested that at the last stage of denuclearization, a peace treaty should be signed between countries involved in the war.

Moon thinks a U.S. security guarantee will prompt North Korea to speed up denuclearization and lead to a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula.