Hanoi is preparing to receive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a state visit, two sources told Reuters, while officials and diplomats said Vietnam is keen to host a second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump.
A source familiar with the matter said Kim will travel to Vietnam for an official state visit after the February 4-8 lunar new year. A separate source confirmed Kim's visit but did not give any dates.
The United States and North Korea are holding high-level talks in Washington this week to discuss a second meeting between Trump and Kim to seek an "interim" deal to revitalise nuclear talks, US and South Korean media have said.
Communist-ruled Vietnam, which has good relations with both the United States and North Korea, has been widely touted as the most likely venue for a second meeting.
The Southeast Asian country is keen to host the summit as a demonstration of its normalised ties with the United States, its foe during the Vietnam War, a Vietnamese government official and two diplomatic sources told Reuters.
The Vietnamese source did not confirm if a state visit by Kim would be combined with a US-North Korean summit.
Media is heavily censored in Vietnam and the ruling Communist Party retains a tight control on information. The officials who spoke to Reuters did so on the strict condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the situation.
Vietnam's foreign ministry did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment. A senior Danang-based official said the city had not been asked to host such an event, but had received instructions to prepare for a possible "A1" visit, referring to a high-profile foreign leader.
A US embassy spokeswoman in Hanoi said the embassy did not have anything to announce regarding the summit location, and referred questions to the White House.
Kim and Trump met for a historic summit in Singapore in June, but have since struggled to make progress towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Kim Yong Chol, Kim's right-hand man and the counterpart to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in denuclearisation talks, was seen getting into a vehicle at Beijing airport after flying in from Pyongyang, pictures showed.
Hours later, he left the Chinese capital on a United Airlines flight which is expected to land in Washington at 6:50 pm local time, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, adding that he was accompanied by two North Korean officials.