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N. Korea: US will 'never be cleared of security threats' if talks fail

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US will always be under security threat if meeting with Trump fails, it says

SEOUL North Korea yesterday confirmed for the first time that its leader Kim Jong Un will hold a second summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam.

Mr Kim left Pyongyang by train on Saturday afternoon for the Feb 27-28 summit in Hanoi, accompanied by senior officials, North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

It also said later that the people of the US would "never be cleared of security threats" if this week's nuclear talks end without results.

KCNA criticised US Democrats and others for "plotting to disrupt" the summit.

It also accused the Trump administration of "lending an ear" to opponents of dialogue.

"If the upcoming DPRK-US negotiations end without results as wished by the opponent forces, the US people will never be cleared of the security threats that threw them into panic and then responsibility will be placed on those due," KCNA said, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The North Korean delegation includes top officials who took part in last year's expanded summit talks between Mr Kim and Mr Trump in Singapore, including envoy to the US Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the central committee of North Korea's Workers' Party Ri Su Yong, and foreign minister Ri Yong Ho.

The North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong, who was seen aiding him in Singapore, is travelling with Mr Kim as well.

Other senior North Korean officials, such as his de facto chief of staff Kim Chang Son and Kim Hyok Chol, counterpart to US negotiator Stephen Biegun, were already in Hanoi to prepare for the summit.

On Saturday, Vietnam's foreign ministry announced that Mr Kim would make an official visit to Vietnam in the "coming days" at the invitation of Mr Nguyen Phu Trong, the president and general secretary of its ruling Communist Party.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim will meet in Hanoi eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, where they pledged to work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

But scant progress since then has driven the two leaders to again seek a top-down approach to diplomacy, analysts said.

The Trump administration has pressed North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programme before it can expect any concessions.

North Korea wants an easing of punishing US-led sanctions, security guarantees and a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a treaty.

Both sides are under pressure to forge more specific agreements than were reached at the Singapore summit. - REUTERS