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Kim says discussing steps to denuclearise

Kim says discussing steps to denuclearise.jpg

US President Donald J. Trump (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) during the start of their second one on one meeting at the US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam (EPA/HOST BROADCAST / POOL -- VIETNAM OUT)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he is willing to give up his nuclear weapons and would not be holding a second summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam if he were not.

Kim and Trump began a second day of talks earlier on Thursday in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, with both expressing hope for progress on improving relations and the key issue of denuclearisation.

"If I'm not willing to do that, I won't be here right now," Kim told reporters through an interpreter, when asked if he was ready to give up his nuclear weapons.

Trump, responding to that, said: "That might be the best answer you've ever heard."

The two leaders were sitting across from each other at a conference table, with their aides.

Kim did not elaborate on what "denuclearisation" would entail, but asked if he was ready to take concrete steps, Kim said they had just been talking about that.

"Hope you give us more time to talk. Even a minute is precious," he told reporters.

While the United States is demanding North Korea give up all of its nuclear and missile programmes, the North wants to see the removal of a US nuclear umbrella for its Asian allies such as South Korea and Japan.

Kicking off the second day of talks at the French-colonial-era Metropole hotel earlier, Trump again stressed the talks aimed at tackling North Korea's nuclear threat should not be rushed.

"I've been saying very much from the beginning that speed is not that important to me. I very much appreciate no testing of nuclear rockets, missiles, any of it, very much appreciate it," Trump told reporters before his session with Kim.

"Chairman Kim and myself, we want to do the right deal."

North Korea has conducted no nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests since late 2017.

Kim, asked by a reporter if he was confident about a deal, said, through an interpreter:

"It's too early to tell, but I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic. For what I feel right now, I do have a feeling that good results will come out," he said, in what was believed to be his first ever response to a foreign journalist.

Trump reiterated North Korea's potential, if a deal can be done, saying the isolated country could be an "economic powerhouse".

The two leaders took a brief break from their talks after about half an hour to stroll in the leafy hotel courtyard, by a swimming pool.

Trump and Kim have a series of meetings scheduled at the Metropole and will later hold a "joint agreement signing ceremony", the White House said.

After, Trump plans a news conference at 3.50 pm. (0750 AEDT).

The White House has given no indication of what the signing ceremony might involve, although the two sides' discussions have included the possibility of a political statement to declare the 1950-53 Korean War over.

© RAW 2019