President Donald Trump began his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un by predicting progress at his upcoming meal with his counterpart and calling the North Korean dictator 'my friend.'
'Hopefully great things will happen later on,' Trump said in brief remarks Wednesday as he met with the president of Vietnam and a delegation.
Trump also lavished praise upon Vietnam for its 'thriving' economy, while touting economic growth in the U.S. as well – holding out the local economy as a model for North Korea to pursue.
He announced a deal to have Vietnam purchase 10 U.S.-made planes – even as it continues to ship billions worth of sneakers and shrimp to U.S. ports.
'You really are an example as to what can happen with good thinking,' Trump said as he sat down with President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam. He touted Vietnam as an economic model that North Korea could pursue
Trump talked up the economic model – where the communist government has maintained one-party political control but opened up economically and established vigorous trade relations with the U.S.
'Unemployment and all of the numbers that you would look at are at historically positive numbers. So I just see what you've done and I'm very proud of what you've done,' Trump said.
He also touted agreements negotiated in advance of the summit for Vietnam to purchase U.S.-made products, and touted a deal with airplane manufacturer Boeing. He also claimed it would help reduce the U.S. $37 billion trade deficit with Vietnam.
'And I know today, whether it's Boeing and a couple of others we're going to be signing some very big trade deals where you're buying a lot of different products from the United States which we greatly appreciate. We're reducing the deficit very substantially, as are many countries,' Trump said.
The deal was for the purchase of 10 planes.
'We're going to be signing some very big trade deals where you're buying a lot of different products from the United States which we greatly appreciate,' Trump told Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong
Later, Trump smiled and held a Vietnamese flag as he met with the country's prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and inked a series of agreements.
Trump previously complained about the trade imbalance during his visit here in 2016, when it was $32 billion. ''We have to get rid of the trading imbalance, we can't have a trade imbalance,' the president said then as he was promoting his 'America First' push on trade.
Kim visited a factory in Hanoi on Tuesday, getting a first hand look at some of the economic progress being made, in a nation that has regularly surpassed 6 per cent growth and achieved per-capita income several fold greater than in North Korea.
President Donald Trump began his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un with another optimistic tweet, calling the North Korean dictator 'my friend'
DOWN TO BUSINESS: Trump touted a deal for Vietnam to purchase planes. The U.S. trade deficit with the nation has grown by $5 billion since Trump visited two years ago
'Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly, if it would denuclearize,' Trump wrote, once again introducing a carrot of sorts on the day he is set to dine with Kim along with two top aides to each leader.
'The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un,' Trump added. 'We will know fairly soon - Very Interesting!'
Trump also took a shot at his critics, including skeptics who fear he will make major concessions to the North Koreans like declaring a formal end to the Korean War or even discussing eventual U.S. troop withdrawals without getting concrete steps in return
'The Democrats should stop talking about what I should do with North Korea and ask themselves instead why they didn't do 'it' during eight years of the Obama Administration?' Trump wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Trump fired off the tweets after landing in Hanoi Tuesday evening after a flight halfway around the world.
Per capita income in Vietnam is nearly double that in North Korea, $2,400 compared to $1,300, achieving 7 per cent growth and with robust foreign investment and growing trade with the U.S.
South Korea is much farther along the development path, with per capita income of $26,000.
A Red Boat Fish Sauce employee looks inside a container at the company's factory in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Gourmands are making pilgrimages to Red Boat's riverside operations on Phu Quoc Island off the southwest coast of Vietnam, right on the border with Cambodia. Vietnam has developed robust trade relations with the U.S.
Vietnam's growth rate has regularly surpassed 6 per cent
A crane stands at a construction site of the Vinhomes Metropolis Lieu Giai building, developed by Vingroup JSC, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. The nation of 96 million people has embraced free-market reforms over the past few decades, leading to surging growth under an authoritarian one-party Communist government that offers the same political stability as China
LETS BUILD A BRIDGE: A Container ship at Saigon river in Vietnam. The U.S. is Vietnam's top export market
Vietnam police personnel guard the compound of the National Convention Center in Hanoi, the venue of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN on September 11, 2018
Trump is to hold a 'social dinner' with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday
The president is relying on his brand of personal diplomacy to try to score a breakthrough here with Kim.
He has previously said they fell 'in love' at their Singapore summit, and has repeatedly stressed that the hermetic regime could become wildly successful if it modernizes and relinquishes its nuclear weapons.
His bid to establish camaraderie with Kim comes despite dark signals that continue to emerge out of the closed society he governs.
Kim forced his uncle to watch colleagues get blown apart with anti-aircraft guns before his own death, according to a defector.
Kang Cheol-Hwan said he was told by eye witnesses that two men who worked with Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, were killed by firing squad.
The two men were brought in front of a barrage of eight anti-aircraft guns and had lumps of iron stuffed into their mouths.
Trump landed in Hanoi Tuesday evening local time for his second summit meeting with Kim Jong in a bid to try to persuade the leader of the hermetic regime to relinquish nuclear weapons.
SPURRED TO ACTION: President Trump walks by a Vietnamese soldier as he arrives for summit talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un
Formal welcome: Vietnamese soldiers in dress uniform were lined up to welcome Trump to Hanoi after Air Force One taxied
On Wednesday evening, President Trump is set to hold his first meetings with Kim since their June summit in Singapore.
They are scheduled to have a brief one-on-one greeting, followed by a 'social dinner,' where Trump will be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Kim is expected to be accompanied by Kim Yung Chol, the general and senior leader who delivered a letter to Trump from Kim, as well as by another associate.
Trump also meets with Vietnamese leaders earlier on Wednesday.
Kim meanwhile, has extended his trip through Saturday, according to state-run North Korean media. He will tack on a 'official goodwill visit' in the country after the summit. A top aide known as Kim's butler scouted out locations about a week ago, including the picturesque Halong Bay where Kim's grandfather Kim Il-sung visited in 1964.
Trump is expected to depart Thursday night.