Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Kim Jong Un’s aide frantically dashes to North Korean leader’s side after arriving in Vietnam for second summit

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It’s hard keeping up with Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean despot arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday after enduring an almost 70-hour train ride through southern China, but one of his aides seemed unprepared for the big red carpet arrival.

Kim was captured on video disembarking his green-and-yellow armored train Tuesday at Dong Dang station along the China-Vietnam border and walking down a red carpet rolled out for his arrival ahead of his second summit with President Trump.

As Kim stops to talk to Vietnamese officials who came to greet him, an aide is seen frantically dashing after the leader and catching up just as handshakes were being given out. The aide, who was identified as Kim’s interpreter, appeared flustered and worried after the arrival hiccup.

TRUMP, KIM JONG UN’S VIETNAM SUMMIT JOINS LONG LIST OF KEY MOMENTS BETWEEN WORLD LEADERS: A TIMELINE

South Korean media compared the interpreter to Usain Bolt following video of his desperate sprint to catch up with Kim going viral.

The North Korean leader is set to meet Trump on Wednesday and Thursday for the second U.S.-North Korea summit. Trump landed in Hanoi Tuesday night hours after Kim’s arrival. The leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s pledge to denuclearization that reached a stalemate since the June summit.


There’s also growing speculation that Trump may offer an announcement of peace and a formal end to the Korean War if he can convince Kim to commit to denuclearization. The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, essentially a cease-fire signed by North Korea, China and the 17-nation, U.S.-led United Nations Command that was supposed to be replaced by a formal peace treaty. But both sides instead settled ever deeper into Cold War hostilities marked by occasional outbreaks of violence.

Kim departed Pyongyang on Saturday by train, Korean Central News Agency announced Sunday, with several officials including Kim Yong Chol, who has been a key negotiator in talks with the U.S., and Kim Yo Jong, the leader’s sister. The train that reportedly travels a speed of 35 miles per hour covered nearly 2,500 miles by the time it reached the railway station.

Kim was greeted with a bouquet of flowers on a patterned red carpet lined with a Vietnamese honor guard and the five-pointed communist-starred flags of North Korea and Vietnam. He then switched to a black limousine for the final 105-mile drive to Hanoi.

The despot’s entourage included his running bodyguards, who also made an appearance at the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore in June. The bodyguards surrounded Kim’s massive bulletproof Mercedes like a human shield as it traveled in Hanoi.

Kim’s arrival also suffered another setback on Tuesday.

Just before the North Korean dictator’s motorcade arrived at the Hanoi’s Melia Hotel, the White House press corps was booted out of the luxury establishment and moved to a different building.

Kim was coincidentally booked to stay at Melia hotel, where the White House also made accommodations for the American press. The hotel was intended to be a filing center during the summit.

The Vietnamese government then tweeted it will be moving the White House press corps to another hotel.

“FYI: the American Media Center will be relocated from Melia hotel to International Media Center at 91 Tran Hung Dao Hanoi#DPRKUSA #HanoiSummit,” the tweet read.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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