US journalists were abruptly booted from the hotel where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is staying ahead of his summit with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, local time.
Kim, who was booked into the Melia Hanoi Hotel, arrived in Vietnam to a throng of journalists eagerly anticipating his arrival to the city. Journalists arrived days before Kim and staged their equipment at the hotel’s media center in preparation for his meeting with Trump.
But following Kim’s arrival by armored train, state officials announced that the press center for US journalists would be relocated several blocks away at the Viet Xo Friendship Cultural Labour Palace, according to Reuters.
“They had about an hours notice that they all had to get out,” CNN correspondent Will Ripley reported on Tuesday. “Kim Jong Un understandably didn’t like the idea of sharing a hotel with a large group of American reporters.”
Fox News correspondent Kristin Fisher said the development was “causing a lot of security issues.”
“A lot of the White House press corps can’t even get inside their own filing center due to some security concerns,” Fisher said in a video.
Foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, North Korea’s equivalent to the US secretary of state, visited the same hotel during his trip to the country in November 2018.
Camera crews and journalists have homed in on the second meeting between Kim and Trump, much like the first summit in Singapore. Security guards and armored vehicles patrolled the surrounding area as roads were cordoned off in preparation for Kim and his entourage.
Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss security concerns — namely the subject of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
On Wednesday, the two will kick off with a social dinner with their aides. Trump will be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, while Kim will reportedly be accompanied by Kim Yong-chol, a high-ranking aide and former intelligence chief; and another unnamed official.