HANOI, Vietnam — President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived at separate red-carpet receptions in Vietnam’s capital city Tuesday, ahead of their two-day summit.
Trump touched down just before 9 p.m. aboard Air Force One, the high-tech symbol of presidential power that made a three-flight journey, including two refueling stops, over more than 20 hours from Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington.
Dressed in a blue tie and dark suit, Trump was greeted on the tarmac by a phalanx of Vietnamese government officials and Daniel Kritenbrink, the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, as well as two columns of Vietnamese military aides in white uniforms. After shaking hands with the dignitaries, Trump entered his presidential parade limousine for the trip into the city.
On his way to the J.W. Marriott, where he will stay for two nights, Trump’s motorcade passed thousands of onlookers, many recording the moment on their cellphones. People waved, and some held bouquets or Vietnamese flags, featuring a gold star on a red background.
“Thank you to all of the people for the great reception in Hanoi,” Trump tweeted. “Tremendous crowds, and so much love!”
Earlier, Kim arrived in the late morning at the Dong Dang station at Vietnam’s border with China after a 65-hour, 2,500-mile train journey from Pyongyang. Kim, wearing a dark Mao-style suit, disembarked from his personal armored train at 8:22 a.m. under cold, drizzly skies.
He was greeted by Vietnamese officials, chatting briefly and smiling. He was handed a bouquet of flowers and shook hands with a long line of officials and military officers before walking past an honor guard dressed in white uniforms and black boots. Outside the station, he smiled and waved at people carrying Vietnamese and North Korean flags.
According to the news website VN Express, Kim thanked a Vietnamese government minister “for a warm and enthusiastic welcome.”
Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was also seen getting off the train. Already there to greet the North Korean leader were Kim Hyok Chol, who is the recently appointed counterpart of U.S. North Korea envoy Stephen Biegun, and Kim Chang Son, who is Kim Jong Un’s de facto chief of staff.
Kim then got into his personal Mercedes limousine. The car was surrounded by 12 bodyguards, who jogged alongside it briefly before it picked up speed for the final 100 miles to Hanoi.
Kim flew to his last summit meeting with Trump in Singapore, but North Korean leaders have preferred to stay grounded if at all possible. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was rumored to have a fear of flying.
The different arrivals symbolized the wide gulf between the world’s leading economic power and a long-reclusive regime that has clung to power inside the Northeast Asian nation behind an arsenal of nuclear bombs that have intimidated its neighbors and unsettled geopolitics.
The second summit between Trump and Kim, after their initial meeting in Singapore in June, is being closely watched around the world over whether the two sides can make significant progress toward an agreement to blunt the North’s nuclear threat and, perhaps, deliver some economic relief for the impoverished nation amid a web of international sanctions.
North Korea has spent decades, at great economic sacrifice, building its nuclear program, and there is widespread skepticism that it will give away that program cheaply.
Trump laid out ultimate goals for the U.S. and Kim before leaving Washington: “We want denuclearization, and I think he’ll have a country that will set a lot of records for speed in terms of an economy.”
He has praised Pyongyang for ceasing missile tests and has appeared to ease up on demanding a timeline for disarmament. Kim is seeking relief from crushing U.S. sanctions.
At June’s summit in Singapore, Kim made vague pledges to denuclearize while Trump called off military exercises with South Korea, a longtime U.S. ally, a concession to North Korea that caught the South and the U.S. military by surprise.
Since the June summit, Pyongyang has refrained from conducting further nuclear tests but made no progress in dismantling its nuclear facilities or producing a full accounting of its nuclear-related sites.
In November, Vice President Mike Pence said it would be “absolutely imperative” that a second summit produce a plan for identifying all of North Korea’s nuclear sites, opening them up to international inspectors and eventually dismantling them.
TWO LEADERS’ SCHEDULE
Kim’s summit with Trump is scheduled to begin with a private dinner today, the White House announced, followed by a series of official meetings Thursday. Trump will be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for the dinner. Kim will also have two aides present, and both men will have interpreters.
South Korea’s state-run Yonhap news agency said the Hanoi Opera House is a possible venue for the dinner, after it was visited by Chief of Staff Kim Chang Son and U.S. officials last week.
Trump will meet Vietnam’s president and prime minister today before his dinner with Kim.
The Melia hotel, where Kim and his entourage are staying, also is housing some of the traveling White House press corps, mostly television news correspondents from the major networks, who have traveled to Vietnam to cover the summit.
Shortly after Kim’s arrival, the media were ordered to move their filing center to an alternative site — a sign of the North’s demands for tight control over security.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kim visited the North Korean Embassy in Hanoi, which is just a few minutes drive from his hotel. There, he was likely to be briefed by his chief negotiator Kim Hyok Chol, who has been meeting Biegun in Hanoi in recent days.
Kim’s schedule in Vietnam has not been publicly announced. Diplomats based in Hanoi said Kim might visit the major port city of Haiphong and the nearby picturesque tourist site of Ha Long Bay, where limestone karsts rise out of emerald seas. But a rumored trip to a factory operated by South Korean electronics giant Samsung north of Hanoi now appears unlikely, one official said.
Kim is thought to be keen to develop North Korea’s economy, especially by promoting tourism and attracting foreign investment into special economic zones.
The U.S. and South Korean governments also want to encourage him to follow Vietnam’s path from socialism to free-market changes, and his side trips could encourage the notion that he might want to move North Korea away from state socialism and self-reliance.
But many experts say there is no sign he has any intention of relaxing his state’s vicelike grip on its people or allowing foreign influence to spread. Vietnam’s opening to the world, undertaken over the past three decades, is unlikely to be a path for North Korea to follow.
Yonhap news agency reported that Kim will stay until Saturday, citing an unnamed source.
“On his train trip back, Chairman Kim can drop by Beijing and debrief President Xi Jinping on the outcome of the second summit,” said Cheong Seong-chang, an expert at South Korea’s Sejong Institute. “Kim is expected to reassure Xi about his commitment to denuclearization talks and ask for military and economic support from China.”
The United States’ main allies in Asia, South Korea and Japan, may have to wait longer for face-to-face debriefs. Trump will fly straight back to Washington after the summit, while Pompeo will take a plane to the Philippines.
Information for this article was contributed by Simon Denyer, John Hudson, David Nakamura and Min Joo Kim of The Washington Post; by Shashank Bengali and Victoria Kim of the Los Angeles Times; and by Jonathan Lemire, Deb Riechmann, Foster Klug, Yves Dam Van, Hyung-jin Kim, Adam Schreck, Hau Dinh and Kim Tong-hyung of The Associated Press.
Bodyguards escort North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s limousine Tuesday as he leaves the North Korean Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Smiling women wave North Korean flags Tuesday in Hanoi as President Donald Trump’s motorcade passes by. Others held the Vietnamese flag, flower bouquets or cellphone cameras.
According to North Korean officials, this photo shows North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Hanoi receiving reports on meetings between his special envoys and U.S. representatives ahead of his talks with President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital.
A Section on 02/27/2019
Print Headline: Trump, Kim welcomed to Vietnam for summit
- Trump-Kim summit: Stakes are high for US to show progress on North Korea
- Japan's new emperor welcomes Trump to Imperial Palace
- How North Korea got away with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam
- Trump touches down in Osaka for crush of intense diplomatic talks with Putin and China at the G20 - but not before Air Force One Twitter rampage blasting India for 'unacceptable' tariffs, insulting hosts Japan and saying China 'is going down tubes'
Trump, Kim welcomed to Vietnam for summit have 1538 words, post on www.arkansasonline.com at February 27, 2019. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.