State of the Union: Trump announces second North Korea summit
US President Donald Trump has announced in his State of the Union speech that he will hold a second nuclear summit with North Korea’s leader this month.
In an address to the nation with the theme “Choosing Greatness”, he vowed once again to build a border wall.
While appealing for political unity, the Republican president also said “ridiculous partisan investigations” could damage US prosperity.
In a rebuttal, Democrats accused Mr Trump of abandoning US values.
His primetime address came less than a fortnight after he backed down to end the longest ever US government shutdown when Democrats refused to fund a US-Mexico border wall.
Federal agencies could close again if no spending plan is agreed by the end of next week.
What did he say about North Korea?
The president said in his 82-minute speech on Tuesday night that he would meet Kim Jong-un in Vietnam from 27-28 February.
“Much work remains to be done,” Mr Trump said, “but my relationship with Kim Jong-un is a good one.”
Plans for a second summit have been in the works since the two leaders’ historic talks last year.
Mr Trump and Mr Kim’s meeting last June in Singapore was the first ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
While Pyongyang has not conducted any atomic or ballistic missile tests since last summer, it has yet to agree to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme.
The US envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is in Pyongyang for talks, paving the way for the second leadership summit.
What might a second summit achieve?
Analysis by Laura Bicker, BBC News, Seoul
Mr Trump’s goal will be to extract pledges from Kim Jong-un without giving too much ground. The Trump administration has said it is not willing to lift sanctions, but it has mentioned helping out the North’s economy.
However, handing over such aid to a secretive state which has yet to declare a list of its weapons facilities or allow in independent inspectors is bound to raise more than eyebrows.
So Mr Trump has to extract a written pledge from Mr Kim. Otherwise these summits will be seen as all show, and very little substance.
As for Mr Kim’s bargaining chips, we have been told he could be prepared to give up his nuclear production site known as Yongbyon.
I’ve also been told by some sources close to Pyongyang that Mr Kim does want to achieve something his father and grandfather never did. A peace treaty.
The prospect of becoming the US president who ended the 68-year long Korean War is bound to be a tantalising one for Mr Trump.
What did he say about unity?
After two years of rancorous partisanship, Mr Trump on Tuesday night repeated calls for political unity that he has made in his last two annual speeches to Congress.
“Together, we can break decades of political stalemate,” he said. “We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions.”
Mr Trump raised potential areas of agreement, such as infrastructure improvements, lowering prescription drug costs and fighting childhood cancer.
But he added: “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
Democrats have launched a flurry of inquiries into the Trump administration since they took over the US House of Representatives last month. – bbc.com