February 21, 2019 | 07:11 pm PT

Foreign reporters flock to Hanoi ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Foreign reporters flock to Hanoi ahead of Trump-Kim summit
International reporters are stationed outside the National Government Guesthouse Residence in Hanoi February 21, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

There is a media frenzy surrounding the North Koreans’ preparations for the summit between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Crews from top South Korean and Japanese media outlets like NHK, KBS, News1, and Yonhap have been thronging outside the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel and the National Government Guesthouse Residence in Hanoi since Monday morning.

"We want to record all sideline events by the North Korean delegations for our readers," a South Korean reporter said.

The correspondents made a big crowd as they saw the North Korean special envoy Kim Hyok-chol, who brought a delegation to Hanoi Wednesday, walking into the guesthouse at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Another high-ranking Hanoi official was seen entering the Metropole at around noon Thursday.

Some 2,600 foreign reporters have registered to cover the summit, Vietnam's foreign ministry said. The greatest numbers of applications were from the U.S., South Korean and Japanese media outlets.

The National Government Guesthouse Residence, also known as the Tonkin Palace, is at Ngo Quyen and Le Thach street corner in the downtown Hoan Kiem District. It is a historical venue and frequently hosts state events.

The Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel, opposite the guesthouse, is one of the capital’s oldest five-star hotels. It has got a facelift ahead of the summit, and more than 10 armed police officers were spotted Thursday patrolling the place.

Hanoi has finalized security plans for 10 major hotels where the two delegations will stay.

But they are yet to decide which ones they will use, a source told VnExpress. Nevertheless, all the hotels have done themselves up and city officials have got trees in surrounding roads trimmed, signs painted and cameras installed for beautification and security purposes.

They will mobilize the entire police force to patrol key locations, including hotels, airports, roads, and train stations.

The second Trump-Kim summit will be held in Hanoi on February 27 and 28.

The first was held in Singapore last June, but negotiations failed to achieve much owing to disagreements over the concept of denuclearization.

Both sides are hoping to make progress this time.

Pham Du, Gia Chinh