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Jakarta Post

Trump's press staff ousted from hotel hours before Kim arrived

  • Youkyung Lee, Jihye Lee and Margaret Talev


Hanoi, Vietnam   /   Tue, February 26, 2019   /   12:17 pm
 Trump's press staff ousted from hotel hours before Kim arrived At ease: Vietnamese military personnel are seen at Dong Dang railway station, where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to arrive, at the border town with China in Dong Dang, Vietnam, on Monday. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

President Donald Trump’s media headquarters for his summit with Kim Jong Un was forced to abruptly move from a Hanoi hotel on Tuesday just hours before the North Korean leader arrived there in his motorcade.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that the White House media center would move from the Melia hotel downtown to the location of the international media center a few blocks away. The Melia had informed guests on Monday that they would have to endure heightened security “due to the visit of a Head of State staying at our hotel.” The hotel didn’t identify the person.

The Melia was ringed with security early Tuesday and access to the property was severely restricted. Armed soldiers and two large military vehicles were stationed outside. Kim’s bodyguards and staff were seen inside the hotel, some floors were blocked off and US and North Korean flags were on display outside.

The sidewalks around Kim’s route through Hanoi were jammed for more than an hour before his arrival. While not officially announced, rumors about Kim’s hotel plans were widespread enough that thousands lined the streets, many holding US, North Korean and Vietnamese flags.

In addition to the White House media center, the hotel is also housing many American journalists who traveled to Hanoi to cover the summit. The White House hasn’t said where in the city the summit will take place. Trump and Kim will kick off their meetings Wednesday evening with what White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called a “social dinner.”