During his rousing and well-received State of the Union address this week, President Donald Trump noted the next summit with North Korea has been scheduled for the end of February.

While recent news has been focused on Virginia’s political drama and the ridiculous “Green New Deal“, both American and North Korean officials have been forging ahead with plans for another meeting between Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un.

President Donald Trump said on Friday that U.S. diplomats had a “very productive meeting” with North Korean officials, and he announced his summit later this month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be held in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.

“My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un. It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28,” Trump said on Twitter.

“I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!” he said.

One item that the American media has missed during the recent distractions is that a key Japanese outlet covering North Korea is reporting that ‘nuclear confrontation with U.S is ending‘.

Choson Sinbo, the pro-Pyongyang media outlet headquartered in Tokyo, highlighted “completely changed” North Korea-U.S. relations Thursday, referring to the negotiations for the second summit between the two countries as a move to normalization of bilateral relations.

“Throughout last year, the composition of DPRK-U.S. relations has shifted from ‘confrontation’ to ‘conversation’ and the ’70 year-old history of DPRK-U.S. nuclear confrontation’ is finally coming to an end,” the report said. It was written on the occasion of U.S. university students’ visit to the pro-Pyongyang Korea University in Tokyo and highlighted improving relations between the two countries on governmental and non-governmental levels.

Meanwhile, U.S. and North Korean negotiators have agreed to meet again before the second summit.

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was in the North Korean capital from Wednesday through Friday for pre-summit talks with his counterpart, Kim Hyok-chol.

This week’s negotiations were aimed at hammering out the logistics and agenda for the second summit. Biegun said ahead of his trip that he would discuss the “corresponding measures” North Korea is seeking in exchange for its denuclearization.

The US has said it will offer sanctions relief only after the North fully and verifiably dismantles its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

But the North has argued that it should be rewarded for steps taken so far, including the demolition of its nuclear testing site and the dismantling of some missile testing facilities.

I have previously theorized that Kim’s ultimate goal is to follow Vietnam’s economic model. Bradley O. Babson, contributor for 38 North (a website focused on analyzing North Korea), compares and contrasts the North Korean approach with Vietnam’s in a highly informative essay. He concludes:

Vietnam’s successes and track record of reform and economic integration with the outside world merit attention in considering how to shape an agenda for North Korea’s economic future. Once sanctions on North Korea are relaxed, agreement on policies for managing reforms and economic development, coupled with a strategic decision to change course in national security policy and international relations, could help put the North Korean economy on a path of stable growth and economic integration.

The absence of a coherent shared vision among stakeholder countries for how to engage in North Korea’s economic development presents an obstacle to successful negotiations with the outside world, but also an opportunity to shape a new phase of engagement and a sustainable development process.

Each of North Korea’s future economic partners have different national interests in their bilateral economic engagement strategies, and North Korea will need to navigate these differences in pursuing its own interests. North Korea should establish balanced relations with South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and partners outside Northeast Asia.

Anchoring economic development and balanced external economic relations in a shared multilateral framework would provide the coherence and stability that North Korea will need to find its new place in the international community. The challenge will be forming a consensus on what that basic framework should look like. The Vietnamese experience is valuable because it could provide the North Korean leadership with a solid foundation for developing a coherent vision of the country’s economic future and a plan to achieve it.

Perhaps the choice of Hanoi is a hint about the approach the North Koreans will chose to adopt, being guided by the master of the “Art of the Deal”?