North Korea, U.S. continue summit preparations
North Korea, U.S. continue summit preparations
  • Yoon You-jin
  • 승인 2019.02.25 10:10
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A team of North Korean officials continued their preparations Sunday to work out the itinerary and logistics for leader Kim Jong-un, who's on his way to Vietnam for a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

The team led by Kim Chang-son, an official at the State Affairs Commission, was spotted leaving the Vietnamese government guesthouse at about 10 a.m. and going into the conference and business center at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

He was accompanied by Pak Chol, vice chairman of the Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee. The Metropole Hotel is being cited as the most likely place Kim Jong-un will stay during his visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

North Korean state media reported that Kim left for Hanoi by train Saturday afternoon. Vietnam's foreign ministry said earlier that Kim will be paying a "goodwill visit" to the country before he meets with Trump.

Sunday's visit to the hotel by the North Koreans suggest they are working to finalize the preparations for Kim's summit. Earlier in the day, Kim Song-hye, director of the United Front Department's tactical office, also visited the hotel.

Kim Cho-gyu, deputy commander of the Supreme Guard Command, North Korea's state bodyguard force, also checked the area until late Saturday, according to sources.

The North Korean officials have altogether visited the Metropole hotel for five straight days since their arrival on Feb. 16.

Tightened security was evident in and outside the hotel. Several Vietnamese military personnel have been conducting a search from top to bottom with metal detectors.

More bodyguards have been seen being assigned to various posts near the entrance.

Floral arches have been placed at one side of the hotel garden, a likely indication that Kim Jong-un will be its guest.

Separately, Kim Hyok-chol, Pyongyang's new point man on Washington, and his counterpart Stephen Biegun also held talks for the fourth straight days to discuss the agenda for the summit.

The meeting took place from around 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hotel du Parc, where Biegun is staying.

Kim Song-hye and Choe Kang-il, acting director-general for the foreign ministry's North American affairs, accompanied the North Korean top envoy.

The U.S. representative Biegun was also spotted visiting a local cathedral earlier in the day.(Yonhap)

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