US, North Korean envoys to meet in Hanoi ahead of summit

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2019, file photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, meets Kim Yong Chol, who traveled to Washington to discuss denuclearization talks, in Pyongyang, North Korea. With their second summit fast approaching, speculation is growing that U.S. President Donald Trump may try to persuade the North leader Kim to commit to denuclearization by giving him something he wants more than almost anything else, an announcement of peace and an end to the Korean War. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

HANOI, Vietnam — U.S. and North Korean special envoys are to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, to make final preparations for a second summit next week between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Steve Biegun was to arrive in Hanoi on Wednesday, U.S. officials said. No details of his schedule were immediately announced.

Biegun is to meet with North Korea's special representative for U.S. affairs, Kim Hyok Chol. South Korea's Yonhap news agency said he arrived in Hanoi on Wednesday evening.

The two envoys met earlier this month in North Korea's capital to discuss details of the Feb. 27-28 summit. Biegun told South Korean officials after that meeting that they discussed the concrete steps they wanted from each other, and that they would meet one more time before the summit to finalize the plans.

Trump and Kim met for their first summit in Singapore last June, during which Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, without providing a clear timetable or roadmap. U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear program in return for outside concessions has since made little headway.

Trump said Tuesday that he wants to see North Korea eventually give up its nuclear weapons program, but that he is not in any rush because relations between the two countries are good.

He said his second meeting with Kim would be "very exciting," but did not say what he hoped to achieve.

When he earlier announced the location of their second meeting, Trump showered praise on Kim, whom he used to derisively call "Little Rocket Man." Months after their Singapore summit, Trump said that Kim had written him "beautiful letters" and that the two "fell in love."

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