Trump and Kim go­ing one-on-one in Hanoi


With ner­vous world cap­i­tals look­ing on, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are be­gin­ning their sec­ond nu­clear sum­mit with a one-on-one dis­cus­sion and an in­ti­mate din­ner as hard ques­tions swirl about what the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent will de­mand and Py­ongyang might be will­ing to give up.

The two lead­ers and their aides en­camped in Hanoi af­ter long jour­neys by plane, train and au­to­mo­bile – Trump on Air Force One, Kim in an ar­mored rail­car and limou­sine – for two days of talks ad­dress­ing per­haps the world’s big­gest se­cu­rity chal­lenge: Kim’s nu­clear pro­gram that stands on the verge of re­al­is­ti­cally threat­en­ing tar­gets around the planet.

Although many ex­perts are skep­ti­cal Kim will give up the nu­clear weapons he likely sees as his best guar­an­tee of con­tin­ued rule, there was a pal­pa­ble, car­ni­val-like ex­cite­ment among many in Hanoi as fi­nal prepa­ra­tions were made for Wed­nes­day’s sum­mit open­ing. There were also huge traf­fic jams in the al­ready con­gested streets.

Trump was open­ing his visit in morn­ing meet­ings with Viet­nam’s pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter be­fore turn­ing his at­ten­tion to Kim. Of­fi­cial greet­ings with the nor­mally reclu­sive leader will give way to a short one-on-one dis­cus­sion be­fore what’s be­ing de­scribed as a so­cial din­ner with an ex­clu­sive guest list. The White House said Trump will be joined at the din­ner by Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and act­ing White House chief of staff Mick Mul­vaney. Kim, too, will have two aides with him, and there will be trans­la­tors for each side.

Trump and Kim will have a se­ries of ad­di­tional of­fi­cial meet­ings Thurs­day.

Kim, who ar­rived in Hanoi first, spent Tues­day trav­el­ing around the Viet­namese cap­i­tal in his limou­sine. With a squad of body­guards in tow, he vis­ited sec­tions of Hanoi, in­clud­ing his na­tion’s em­bassy where a loud cheer went up as he en­tered the com­pound.

As host, Viet­nam is ea­ger to show off its huge eco­nomic and de­vel­op­ment im­prove­ments since the de­struc­tion of the Viet­nam War. But the coun­try also tol­er­ates no dis­sent and is able to pro­vide the kind of firm hand not al­lowed by more demo­cratic po­ten­tial hosts.

Trump ar­rived late Tues­day af­ter a 20-hour trip that in­cluded re­fu­el­ing stops in Eng­land and Qatar. He shook hands with dig­ni­taries on a red car­pet flanked by Viet­namese troops in crisp white uni­forms. The route to his ho­tel was dec­o­rated with Amer­i­can, North Korean and Viet­namese flags, and adults and chil­dren peered out up­per-floor win­dows hold­ing up cell­phones to cap­ture his ar­rival.

“Tremen­dous crowds, and so much love!” the U.S. pres­i­dent tweeted.

Kim’s jour­ney to the sum­mit, though shorter in dis­tance, was even more pro­tracted. He took a nearly 70-hour train ride through south­ern China and then trav­eled from a Viet­namese bor­der town in his limou­sine. Hours ahead of his bor­der cross­ing at Dong Dang, footage from Ja­panese TV net­work TBS showed Kim tak­ing a pre-dawn smoke break at a train sta­tion in China. A woman who ap­peared to be his sis­ter, Kim Yo Jong, held a crys­tal ash­tray at the ready.

In Hanoi, sol­diers, po­lice and in­ter­na­tional jour­nal­ists thronged the streets out­side Kim’s ho­tel, and hun­dreds of ea­ger cit­i­zens stood be­hind bar­ri­cades hop­ing to see the North Korean leader. As flags from the three coun­tries flut­tered in a chilly driz­zle, dozens of cam­eras flashed and some cit­i­zens screamed and used their mo­bile phones to cap­ture Kim’s ar­rival.

“I like him,” lo­cal res­i­dent Van Dang Luu, who works at a nearby bank, said of Kim. “He is very young and he is very in­ter­est­ing. And he is very pow­er­ful,” she said. “Trump is not young, but I think he is very pow­er­ful.”


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ar­rives Tues­day at Noi Bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Hanoi, Viet­nam. Trump and his North Korean coun­ter­part, Kim Jong-un, are sched­uled for a one-on-one greet­ing Wed­nes­day evening and a “so­cial din­ner.” They will hold for­mal meet­ings Thurs­day.

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