Cheering crowds welcome Kim to Vietnam summit

Top News | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 27 Feb 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Hanoi to cheering crowds and curious onlookers for a second summit with Donald Trump that is closely watched for progress over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

After an initial historic meeting in Singapore in June that produced only a vague statement about denuclearization, analysts say the second date must deliver more concrete steps toward dismantling Pyongyang's arsenal.

The normally sleepy Vietnamese border station of Dong Dang spruced itself up for Kim's arrival after the young leader's 4,000-kilometer, 60-hour odyssey through China aboard his olive green train.

A military guard of honor in white uniforms presented arms as Kim strolled down the red carpet waving and grinning, surrounded by aides and security personnel.

Local student Nguyen Thu Uyen, who handed Kim flowers on his arrival, said it was his most memorable moment meeting the leader.

"Kim Jong Un is very friendly and especially attractive," said Uyen of Kim, the first North Korean leader to visit fellow one-party state Vietnam since his grandfather Kim Il Sung in 1964.

Kim was ushered into a Mercedes-Benz and his motorcade left for Hanoi. He was greeted there by cheering crowds behind barriers near the colonial-era Hanoi Opera House before arriving at the Melia hotel where he was expected to stay.

After a few hours' rest, he made a 50-minute jaunt to Pyongyang's embassy before returning to his hotel, echoing the summit in Singapore where he took in the sights.

Trump was taking a more conventional route on Air Force One and was expected to arrive in Hanoi last night.

He again dangled the carrot of economic progress for North Korea if it gives up its nuclear program.

"With complete denuclearization, North Korea will rapidly become an economic powerhouse," tweeted Trump.

"Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!"

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the two leaders would dine together today.

Editorial: Vietnam offers Kim a vision

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