US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have both arrived in Vietnam on the eve of their second summit at which they will tackle how to implement a North Korean pledge to give up its nuclear weapons.
Trump flew into the capital Hanoi on Air Force One, touching down just before 9pm local time on Tuesday.
He had left Washington on Monday afternoon on Air Force One flying eastwards and made refuelling stops in England and Qatar.
Kim arrived by train early in the day after a three-day, 3000km journey from his capital, Pyongyang, through China. He completed the last stretch from a border station to Hanoi by car.
The two leaders, who seemed to strike up a surprisingly warm relationship at their first summit in Singapore last June, will meet for a brief one-on-one conversation on Wednesday evening, followed by a dinner, at which they will each be accompanied by two guests and interpreters, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.
They will meet again on Thursday, she said.
Their talks come eight months after the historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
The first meeting was all about breaking the ice after decades of war and bitter animosity between their countries but this time, there will be pressure on both to move beyond the vaguely worded commitment they made in Singapore to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Trump’s critics at home have warned him against cutting a deal that would do little to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, urging specific, verifiable North Korean action to abandon the nuclear weapons that threaten the US.
In return, Kim would expect significant US concessions such as relief from punishing sanctions and a declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is at last formally over.
Vietnamese officials were on hand to greet Kim at the station in Dong Dang town after he crossed the border from China. He got a red-carpet welcome with honour guard, military band and fluttering North Korean and Vietnamese flags.
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, who has emerged as an important aide, arrived with him.
About a dozen bodyguards briefly ran alongside Kim’s car as he set off for the two-hour journey to Hanoi, smiling and waving to children lining the route from his limousine.
Roads were closed with Vietnamese security forces in armoured-personnel carriers guarding the route to the city’s Melia hotel where he is staying.
Vietnamese authorities have been tight-lipped about the summit and have yet to announce where the two will meet.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also arrived on Tuesday and met Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh for talks.
Trump told reporters before he left he and Kim would have “a very tremendous summit”.
Tweeting on Monday, he stressed the benefits to North Korea if it gave up its nuclear weapons. “With complete Denuclearisation, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!” Trump said.