NATIONAL

[From the scene] As Trump-Kim meet, venue buzzes with excitement

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Feb 27, 2019 - 19:58
  • Updated : Feb 27, 2019 - 21:05

HANOI, Vietnam -- Just a couple of hours before the first meeting set to take place between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday during their second summit, the roads around the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi were blocked with barricades and standing armed guards.

Vietnamese security officials restrict access to roads leading to Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
Vietnamese security officials restrict access to roads leading to Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)
(Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)

The barricade set up in the direction of the hotel’s entrance was crowded with reporters, tourists and passersby trying to get a glimpse of the two leaders entering the hotel for their meeting scheduled at 6:30 p.m. The two leaders are expected to talk for about 20 minutes and to proceed with dinner from 7 p.m. 

At 4:30 p.m., hours ahead of the meeting, Giang Yen, a Vietnamese university student was waiting in front of the barricade. “We came here to see Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump meet today. I am very happy that the two people are meeting here,” Giang said, adding that her impression of Kim is that he is a young and secretive leader.

Vietnamese students Ngo Thao, Trinh Dang, Giang Yen (from left) wait in front of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel to get a glimpse of the two leaders on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)

Giang came with a friend and her geology teacher, who came all the way from Thai Binh Province, some 100 kilometers from Hanoi.

“I am interested in the North Korean issues and the relationship of the two Koreas. I came here from Thai Binh Province on foot,” Dang Trinh, the teacher, told The Korea Herald. Showing photographs of families from the two Koreas holding each other’s hands and shedding tears at a reunion event for separated families, he said he was very touched by the scene.

“I hope to one day visit Seoul from Hanoi by train,” Dang said.

Meanwhile, Dhruv Jadhav and Abhishek Rao, law students from India, expressed excitement over the fact that they were touring the city on the historic day.

“We are quite excited about the prospect of denuclearization of North Korea,” Jadhav, 25, said, adding that he is well-aware of how dangerous nuclear weapons are, especially in politically unstable regions.

“We are very excited to be here on this historic day. I wish for a good result for the people of the Korean Peninsula and for the North Korean people, who live in a very different reality,” Rao, 24, said.

The hotel is expected to be the venue for the second day of the Trump-Kim summit Thursday. 

 
Vietnamese security officials restrict access to roads leading to Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel on Wednesday. (Jo He-rim/The Korea Herald)


By Jo He-rim
The Korea Herald Correspondent
(herim@heraldcorp.com)