Hours before Kim Jong-un’s arrival, White House press staff shunted from Hanoi hotel booked for leader’s stay

When the same hotel was booked for Kim Jong Un and the White House press corps, US mediapersons were relocated to another international media filing center

The Associated Press February 26, 2019 16:26:16 IST
Hours before Kim Jong-un’s arrival, White House press staff shunted from Hanoi hotel booked for leader’s stay
  • White House reporters, cameraman and photographers were shifted to another hotel after the bookings clashed with Kim Jong Un’s

  • Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump are to meet in Vietnam for their second summit

  • The leaders are expected to discuss denuclearisation, among other issues

Dong Dang: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the White House press corps booked the same hotel. Guess who won? The White House reporters, cameraman and photographers were set to be using a filing center at the Melia Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, for Kim's meeting with President Donald Trump.

But on Tuesday, Vietnam's Foreign Minister said they were being relocated to an international media filing center about a seven-minute walk away.

The White House did not say why the move was made and it was unclear who booked first. A few hours after the move was announced, Kim's motorcade rolled up to the hotel.

Hours before Kim Jonguns arrival White House press staff shunted from Hanoi hotel booked for leaders stay

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Dong Dang, Vietnam. AP

When security started to tighten at the hotel on Monday, reporters were in disbelief that the Western press corps was going to be amassed at the same place as the reclusive North Korean leader.

People lined the streets to greet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as his limousine rolled up to the hotel in Vietnam's capital where he's staying for his second summit with President Donald Trump.

A fine mist of rain fell on the crowd as his motorcade arrived behind security cars with loud sirens. As it passed, they cheered and waved Vietnamese, North Korea and American flags. They didn't see Kim's face, only his car, which had darkened windows.

Seventeen-year-old Hung Nguyen, who walked outside his high school to see Kim, says he thinks Kim is truly serious about giving up his nuclear weapons.

Asked about a possible declaration ending the Korean War, he said if the war was indeed over, governments could spend more on hospitals and technology. Japanese TV footage has shown North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taking a pre-dawn smoke break at a train station in China hours before his arrival in Vietnam for his summit with President Donald Trump.

The video broadcast by TBS on Tuesday shows Kim taking a drag on a cigarette and talking with North Korean officials at China's Nanning rail station. A woman who appears to be his sister Kim Yo Jong is seen holding a crystal ashtray.

Kim arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday after an almost 70-hour train ride that cut through southern China. Kim is frequently seen with a cigarette in his hands. North Korean TV even showed him casually smoking in front of one of his liquid-fuel ICBMs in 2017.

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