Vietnam's selection as the venue for the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is largely a matter of convenience and security, but not without bigger stakes.
"Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong-un is a good one", he said.
He also said if it were not for him, "we would, right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea".
Trump had raised fears of war in 2017 when he threatened to rain "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea because of the threat its nuclear weapons and missiles posed to the United States.
US envoy Stephen Biegun is due to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol on Pyongyang on Wednesday, as he attempts to push forward preparations for the summit and advance a plan to reinvigorate talks about denuclearization.
On Wednesday, the Blue House statement echoed his sentiment.
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Vietnam is one of a handful of countries with which North Korea has good relations.
Vietnam is also often lauded as an economic success story that North Korea could emulate. That would require major changes to the North's personality cult and "juche" ideology of self sufficiency.
Michael Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday he's most anxious that President Trump will "cut a deal" with Kim Jong Un on the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that threaten the USA - putting the rest of the region at risk. Picture taken June 12, 2018.
Trump voiced guarded hope that intensifying negotiations with Afghanistan's Taliban would bring for a "possible political solution" to end the longest-ever United States war.
She had said at a press conference last month Vietnam was "very confident" about its ability and capacity to host the summit after showcasing it by organizing major worldwide events like APEC 2017 in Da Nang City. But although North Korea's tests of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles have been paused since the meeting, former diplomats and nuclear experts say North Korea is no closer to complete denuclearization and that the USA has made huge concessions in the negotiations.
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Even before Vietnam was picked as the location for the next Trump-Kim summit, Kim Jong Un had informed the Vietnamese government about his wish to pay an official visit to Hanoi, Carl Thayer, an emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales and an expert on Vietnam, told DW.
"They stopped nuclear testing, but they've made no move at all towards denuclearization".
North Korea has repeatedly urged a lifting of punishing US -led sanctions, a formal end to the war, and security guarantees.
"We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement - but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace", he said.
"If the United States can be more proactively flexible on that, it may draw other denuclearization steps on top of abolishing the Yongbyon facilities, and expedite talks on setting up a liaison office and replacing the armistice with a peace treaty", Cheong said.
In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, President Donald Trump specifically signalled his readiness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in order to monitor Iran.
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