China blocked off roads along train tracks and censored online mentions of the train’s whereabouts. Vietnam repaved roads, decked out its capital with flowers and flags, and literally rolled out the red carpet.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday morning after taking the long route from Pyongyang for his second, closely watched summit with President Trump. He made the 2½-day, 2,800-mile journey through China by his preferred mode of transport: armored train.
Kim’s train arrived early Tuesday in the border town of Dong Dang, where he was greeted with fanfare by Vietnamese authorities.
From there, a stretch limousine took him the rest of the way to Hanoi, where he arrived 2½ hours later in a motorcade that included at least a dozen police motorcycles and cars. Onlookers stood behind street barricades and waved North Korean, Vietnamese and American flags.
Trump was due to arrive on Air Force One later Tuesday.
The arrival sets the stage for a summit that in many ways carries higher expectations for concrete results than the first historic meeting in Singapore in June, which produced only vague commitments toward peace and denuclearization.
At the time, Trump abruptly announced a cessation of military exercises between the U.S. and longtime ally South Korea, without securing concessions from the North. The move surprised officials in Seoul and many in Washington. U.S. politicians and analysts have expressed concern he will make similar spur-of-the-moment decisions in his private meeting with Kim in Hanoi.
Negotiators for the U.S. and North Korea have been in Hanoi for a flurry of eleventh-hour working-level talks to lay the groundwork for the summit.
At issue is what steps North Korea will agree to take toward dismantling its nuclear capabilities and allow verification, and what the U.S. will offer in return — a peace declaration ending the Korean War, establishment of a liaison office between the two nations, and possible relief from a host of economic sanctions.
Trump, for his part, has said he is in no rush for results from the summit — a shift from Singapore, when he said he would be able to size up North Korea’s leader within seconds of meeting him.
“We've given up nothing. The sanctions are on, everything's on, but we have a special feeling and I think it's going to lead to something very good and maybe now,” he said at the Governors’ Ball in Washington on Sunday. “I think ultimately it will, but maybe not, and I'm not pushing for speed but we're not removing the sanctions.”