U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to press the theme of North Korea’s economic potential, saying that successful denuclearization talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could help turn the country “into a great economic power,” CNBC reported.
Trump, who will meet with Kim on Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, has pointed to Vietnam’s success in transforming its economy as a model for North Korea, saying the South-East Asian country “is thriving like few places on earth.”
“North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,” Trump added in a Twitter posting early Wednesday.
Trump said that North Korea’s economic potential is “like almost none other in history.”
Vietnam, a single-party state and former U.S. foe that has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years, offers a vision of what North Korea could become if international sanctions were lifted and it could trade more freely, analysts say.
However, Trump first needs to convince Kim – whom the President described earlier Wednesday on Twitter as “my friend” – to give up his nuclear weapons programme. In a meeting with Vietnam’s prime minister, Trump expressed optimism about his talks with Kim, saying that the North Korean leader “wants to do something great also.”
The President and Kim, who met for the first time last June in Singapore, were scheduled to have a brief one-on-one meeting Wednesday evening at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi before joining a “social dinner” with their aides, according to the office of the White House press secretary.
Trump will be joined at the dinner by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Kim will bring his top negotiator Kim Yong Chol and a third as-yet-unknown associate, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.
Trump and Kim are expected to have a second day of meetings on Thursday. The North Korean leader has kept a low profile in Vietnam. Aside from a brief visit to his country’s embassy a day earlier, Kim by midday on Wednesday had not left his luxury hotel in Hanoi since arriving after a three-day overland journey from Pyongyang.
Reporters and onlookers gathered at the edges of the security perimeter surrounding Melia Hanoi Hotel, where Kim is staying, hoping to catch a glimpse of the North Korean motorcade, but there were no signs that he had gone anywhere.
Trump spent the first part of Wednesday meeting with Vietnam’s President and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
In his meeting with Trong, the two leaders signed an agreement for Vietnam to buy 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes worth billions of dollars.