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Kim Jong-un begins long train ride to Trump summit
24 February 2019, 12:29 | Tara Lloyd
Vietnam issues traffic ban for Kim's possible arrival route
Vietnam will host the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi on February 27-28.
Vietnamese police officers stand guard outside the media center of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 23, 2019.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told the USA secretary of state he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer involved in high-level diplomacy over the North's weapons was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Kim Jong-un will also pay an official visit to Vietnam in the coming days at the invitation of Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong.
Kim's train will reportedly stop at the Vietnamese border station of Dong Dang, after which he will proceed by vehicle to Hanoi, with local authorities planning to close the stretch of road that he will travel on between the station and the capital. His late father, Kim Jong Il, travelled all the way to Moscow by train in 2001.
According to state officials, Trump spoke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe via telephone last Wednesday prior to the Vietnam summit with Kim.
The Trump-Kim meeting is slated for Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi. Vietnamese police have stepped up security around the border station ahead of Kim's arrival. Kim's overseas travel plans are routinely kept secret.
But a former USA intelligence officer, who helped arrange the first summit, predicted on Friday the second summit would be more productive than the first, quoting Kim Jong Un as saying past year he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons.
Rail travel is a family tradition that was started by Kim's grandfather, the North's founder Kim Il Sung.
On the trip to the Singapore summit, he flew from Pyongyang on a Chinese state-owned airplane two days ahead of the event instead of using a plane from North Korea's state carrier, which has been banned from some regions due to safety concerns.
"The best route is the Beijing-Guangzhou line", said Zhao Jian, who studies China's railway system at Beijing Jiaotong University, describing a route that would see Kim travel straight down to southern China, before heading west into Guangxi province, which borders Vietnam. They are expected to focus on what steps North Korea might take towards denuclearisation, in exchange for what US concession.
Hanoi has been gearing up for the summit with beefed-up security.
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