Details of Trump's Vietnam summit with Kim Jong Un still murky

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Trump on China, North Korea, Bernie Sanders

Many details of President Trump's summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, are still unclear, after senior administration officials briefed reporters about the trip on Thursday morning.

Senior administration officials said they're still working on understanding North Korea's definition of denuclearization. The exact schedule of the president's trip is unclear. It's yet to be seen whether anyone else will be present when Mr. Trump meets with Kim. And it's unclear if the U.S. and North Korea have agreed upon any principles ahead of the summit.

A senior administration official did say the summit will be "similar in format to what you saw last June 12th in Singapore." It is expected to include an opportunity for the two leaders to see each other one-on-one, share a meal, and engage in expanded meetings with respective delegations, a senior administration official said. However, it's unclear if the summit will include any press conference, like Mr. Trump's Singapore summit did. Officials said further details will be released later.

The overriding goal is "ultimately about the denuclearization of North Korea," an official said. Mr. Trump is also focused on the possibility of prosperity for North Korea in the future.

"The president is very much focused on a picture of what success looks like," one senior administration official said of North Korea's future.

Mr. Trump has tweeted similar sentiments, while alluding to his 2017 comments calling Kim "little rocket man."

"North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse," the president tweeted earlier this month. "He may surprise some but he won't surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!"

U.S. and North Korean delegations have met multiple times since last year's summit, although the Trump administration has struggled to defend what changes North Korea has made since. The administration has pointed to the release of hostages held in North Korea, although that took place before the summit, and the repatriation of a fraction of U.S. remains from the Korean War. But there are no substantive signs North Korea is taking steps towards dismantling its nuclear program.

First published on February 21, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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