Kim Jong-un expected in Vietnam early ahead of summit with Trump

Trump and North Korea's Kim meet at the start of their summit in Singapore

Trump and North Korea's Kim meet at the start of their summit in Singapore

But plans for economic projects, such as allowing South Korean tourists to visit North Korea, have been on hold while the United States keeps its sanctions in place.

North Korea has faced global sanctions from at least eight countries and several worldwide bodies following nuclear tests conducted in 2006 and Kim is hoping President Donald Trump lifts partial sanctions when the pair sit down next week in Hanoi for their second summit.

Stephen Biegun, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, will fly to Hanoi soon for talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok-chol.

The two leaders met in Singapore for their first summit last June and inked an agreement to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

He said he discussed the upcoming summit during a phone call earlier in the day with South Korea President Moon Jae-in and will speak on Wednesday with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He did not give details.

"We would not oppose diplomatic normalization if all the abduction victims are immediately returned altogether", 80-year-old Shigeo Iizuka, who heads a group of the families, said in line with the message they wrote.

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"They'd play the nuclear dissemination card instead of (conducting) testing", he added. But it is as hard as ever to imagine Mr Trump will achieve his ultimate goal - the full denuclearisation of North Korea.

"Unfortunately, the US President fell into this trap", he added. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday Washington aims to "get as far down the road as we can" at the summit.

Trump said his second meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un on February 27 and 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam, would be "very exciting", but did not disclose details of what he hoped would be achieved.

What Mr Kim will want in return is sanctions relief, like the resumption of inter-Korea projects, including the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang tours.

The South Korean government apparently discussed with the US opening an escrow account or giving North Korea goods instead of cash in order to avoid bulk payments that would violate sanctions. China is the North's only ally and largest trade partner.

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