Hosts expecting Kim Jong Un to arrive by train

HANOI • Vietnam is preparing for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to arrive by train for his summit in Hanoi next week with US President Donald Trump, two sources with direct knowledge of secu-rity and logistics planning told Reuters yesterday.

It could take Mr Kim at least 21/2 days to travel the thousands of kilometres through China by train, from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to Vietnam, meaning that he would have to set off later this week in time for his planned arrival on Monday.

Mr Kim's train will stop at the Vietnamese border station of Dong Dang, where he will disembark and travel 170km to Hanoi by car, the sources said.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump will meet in the Vietnamese capital from Feb 27 to 28, eight months after a historic summit in Singapore on June 12 last year.

Mr Kim's newly appointed nuclear negotiator, Mr Kim Hyok Chol, arrived in Hanoi yesterday, a Reuters witness and a source said.

Separately, three other sources told Reuters that the preferred location for the meeting between the leaders is the Government Guesthouse, a colonial-era government building in central Hanoi.

All five sources who spoke to Reuters said the plans were subject to change.

The Metropole Hotel, opposite the Government Guesthouse, will be a backup location for the summit, two of the sources said.

Last Saturday, a Reuters witness saw Mr Kim Jong Un's close aide, Mr Kim Chang Son, visiting the Government Guesthouse and the Metropole and Melia hotels. The North Korean leader could possibly stay in the Melia hotel during his visit, one of the sources said.

Travel by train has been a preferred mode of transport for Mr Kim Jong Un, his father Kim Jong Il, and grandfather Kim Il Sung.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2019, with the headline Hosts expecting Kim Jong Un to arrive by train. Subscribe