Kim Jong Un leaves Pyongyang for Hanoi to meet Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's armoured train has arrived in China ahead of the second summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam, according to media reports.

Trump and Kim met in Singapore last June, marking the first summit between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, but the conference produced only a vague pledge to work towards denuclearization.

Previously, Vietnam confirmed Kim would visit Vietnam in response to an invitation from Vietnam's President Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also the head of the ruling Communist Party.

But little progress has been made since then and they are set to meet again in Hanoi on February 27 and 28.

He is expected to arrive in Vietnam on February 25. It could take more than two days for the train to travel thousands of miles through China to Vietnam.

It came after Vietnam announced the unprecedented move of closing that 170km stretch of road on Tuesday between 6am and 2pm - suggesting Kim could travel on the road between those hours.

Last year, North Korea suspended its nuclear and long-range missile tests and unilaterally dismantled its nuclear testing ground and parts of a rocket launch facility without the presence of outside experts, but none of those steps were seen as meaningful cutbacks to the North's weapons capability.

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Security was tight before the train's arrival, with police cordoning off the riverfront some 100m from the bridge with tape and metal barriers, and leading an AFP journalist out of the area.

The Trump administration has pressed North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, which threatens the United States, before it can expect any concessions.

On Feb. 26, Vietnam will ban traffic on the road Kim is expected to take to Hanoi from a station on the Chinese border, state media said. Their first summit last June in Singapore ended without substantive agreements on the North's nuclear disarmament and triggered a months-long stalemate in negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

His predecessors, father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung, also preferred rail for their domestic and overseas travels.

On the trip to the Singapore summit, he flew from Pyongyang on a Chinese state-owned airplane two days ahead of the event instead of using a plane from North Korea's state carrier, which has been banned from some regions due to safety concerns.

They said the Metropole Hotel would be a backup location for the summit and Kim could possibly stay in the Melia hotel.

  • Sonia Alvarado