The day is finally here and United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to meet for the second time in Hanoi, Vietnam. The two leaders met for the first time on June 12, 2018, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore.
The two leaders are already in Hanoi and are set to come together for a formal dinner at 6.30 pm local time. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the dinner will take place at the Metropole hotel and will be a small affair attended by Trump, Kim, Mike Pompeo, Ri Yong Ho, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a few others officials along with two interpreters.
While the leaders are in Hanoi for the summit on February 27 and 28, it is being said that the discussions could go on for the third day as well.
What's on the agenda?
While Trump and Kim are known to have indulged in quite a few war of words in the past, things have calmed down since the two leaders met in Singapore. Like in the previous meeting, the two leaders are likely to discuss denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and speak of Pyongyang's infamous nuclear programme.
Trump and Kim may also sign a peace declaration symbolising the end of the Korean War. After discussions, they could also reach a deal, under which the US could lift a few sanctions imposed on Pyongyang. After the first meeting, the US had vaguely said that Kim had agreed to close down its nuclear programme, but the sanctions would remain in place under the procedure was final.
Meanwhile, Thursday, February 28, could comprise more discussions between the two leaders, after which they could hold a joint press conference to speak on their decision and the relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
While the world watches the summit, chefs preparing dinner for the leaders are said to be having a tough time. A source told CNN that the chefs weren't able to get the menu approved the US and North Korea. The source said that Trump's team constantly kept adjusting the menu so that it is "super simple."
Trump meets prime minister of Vietnam
Earlier in the day, the US president met Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the Office of Government Hall in Hanoi, and also visited the President Nguyen Phu Trong. Several deals were signed in the presence of the two leaders, including Boeing's agreement with VietJet for 100 737 MAX aircraft and with Bamboo Airways for 10 787 Dreamliners. American company Sabre also signed a deal with Vietnam Airlines, reported the Associated Press.
"We both felt very good about having this very important summit in Vietnam because you really are an example as to what can happen, with good thinking," AP quoted Trump as saying, to which the Vietnamese president said tat his country has "been making all necessary preparations to ensure the best conditions for the success of this very special meeting."
After meeting the PM and the president, Trump is said to have gone back to his hotel and will reportedly leave only for his summit with Kim. And it looks like he is using the time to tweet insults to Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. Calling him and his stories "total fraud," the president said that he had uncovered quite a few things about the Democrat.
I have now spent more time in Vietnam than Da Nang Dick Blumenthal, the third rate Senator from Connecticut (how is Connecticut doing?). His war stories of his heroism in Vietnam were a total fraud - he was never even there. We talked about it today with Vietnamese leaders!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2019
Metropole Hotel in Hanoi
Heavy security was seen outside the colonial Metropole Hotel in Hanoi and the police are said to be keeping a keen eye on the venue. Vietnamese soldiers in camouflaged fatigues were seen sweeping the area with a metal detectors and security personnel were also seen on rooftops of nearby buildings installing radios and other security equipment, reported Reuters. Such is the arrangement that personnel were also seen going through the contents of potted plants at the hotel and areas nearby.
Vietnamese soldiers were seen patrolling the streets and guests at the hotel have been requested to go through metal detectors and provide key cards to prove that they are staying at the Metropole hotel.
The colonial-era property is known for its facilities and an "award winning gastronomic cuisine, Vietnamese, French and European and New World-inspired." With 364 rooms and suites, the Metropole Wing boasts of a historical old world charm, whereas the Opera Wing offers a neo-classic elegance, its website says.