President Trump will try to coax North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un into shutting down his country’s main nuclear facility at their second summit meeting this week in Vietnam.
The step would fall short of full denuclearization, but carry great symbolic weight for both countries.
Kim has reportedly waxed sentimental about the stakes.
“I don’t want my children to carry the nuclear weapon on their back their whole life,” Kim told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when they met face-to-face in April, a conversation that was revealed Friday.
North Korea announced Saturday that its ruler had boarded a train for the two-day journey to the summit site in Hanoi.
A South Korean diplomat involved in the talks said Kim has agreed to allow US inspectors into the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, which has processed plutonium and uranium for Pyongyang’s nukes.
Trump met Kim last June in Singapore, the first meeting between leaders of the two countries since the end of the Korean War in 1953. They promised to work toward a formal peace agreement and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Little progress has been made since then—and the two sides still lack a clear agreement on what denuclearization would mean.
But holding the Wednesday-Thursday summit in Vietnam, which has seen strong economic growth since exiting the isolation of the Vietnam War era, is a not-so-subtle hint of the carrot Trump will offer: promises of a US-assisted industrial surge if Pyongyang plays ball.
“North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse,” Trump tweeted Feb. 8. “North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!”