North Korea's Kim arrives in Vietnam

North Korea’s Kim arrives in Vietnam, awaits US President Donald Trump for the second summit

Vietnamese residents take photos while North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un goes past in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/KHAM
Vietnamese residents take photos while North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un goes past in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/KHAM

Story spiked – Kim’s Hanoi hotel masterstroke undone as White House press evictedREUTERS

  • 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.
  • Kim, who was booked into the Melia Hanoi Hotel, arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday local time to a throng of journalists eagerly anticipating his arrival to the city.
  • “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.”

|AIWA! NO!|North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday for a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump where they will try to reach agreement on how to implement a North Korean pledge to give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump is due in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Tuesday evening.

They will meet for a brief one-on-one conversation on Wednesday evening, followed by a dinner, at which they will each be accompanied by two guests and interpreters, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Air Force One.

The two leaders would meet again on Thursday, she said.

North Korea’s Kim awaits Trump in Vietnam for second summit

Their talks come eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

There is likely to be pressure on both sides to move beyond the vaguely worded commitment they made in Singapore to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Domestic critics have warned Trump against cutting a deal that would do little to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, urging specific, verifiable North Korean action to abandon the nuclear weapons that threaten the United States.

In return, Kim would expect significant U.S. concessions such as relief from punishing sanctions and a declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is at last formally over.

Kim, who travelled from the North Korean capital by train, arrived at the station in the Vietnamese town of Dong Dang after crossing over the border from China.

Vietnamese officials were on hand to receive him at the station with a red-carpet welcome, including a guard of honour and fluttering North Korean and Vietnamese flags.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has emerged as an important aide, arrived with him.

About a dozen bodyguards ran along side Kim’s car as he departed for the two-hour journey to the capital, Hanoi.

Roads were closed off with Vietnamese security forces equipped with armoured-personnel carriers guarding the route to the city’s Melia hotel where he is staying.

Both Kim Jong Un and Trump are also due to hold separate talks with Vietnamese leaders.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also arrived in Hanoi, on Tuesday. He has been Trump’s top envoy in his efforts to improve ties with the reclusive North and has made several trips to Pyongyang to negotiate an ending of its nuclear programme.

Pompeo was due to meet U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Hanoi later.

Trump told reporters before he left the and Kim would have “a very tremendous summit”.

Tweeting on Monday, he stressed the benefits to North Korea if it gave up its nuclear weapons. “With complete Denuclearisation, North Korea will rapidly become an Economic Powerhouse. Without it, just more of the same. Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!” Trump said.

In a speech late on Sunday, Trump, however, appeared to play down any hope of a major breakthrough in Hanoi, saying he would be happy as long as North Korea maintained its pause on weapons testing.

“I’m not in a rush,” he said. “I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy.”

North Korea conducted its last nuclear test in September 2017 and last tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017.

Analysts say the two leaders have to move beyond summit symbolism.

“The most basic yet urgent task is to come to a shared understanding of what denuclearisation would entail,” said Gi-Wook Shin, director of Stanford’s Asia-Pacific Research Center.

“The ambiguity and obscurity of the term ‘denuclearisation’ only exacerbates the scepticism about both the U.S. and North Korean commitments to denuclearisation.”

While the United States is demanding that North Korea give up all of its nuclear and missile programmes, North Korea wants to see the removal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella for South Korea.

A South Korean presidential spokesman told reporters in Seoul on Monday the two sides might be able to agree to a formal end of the Korean War, which was concluded with an armistice not a peace treaty, a move North Korea has long sought.

While a formal peace treaty may be a long way off, the two sides have discussed the possibility of a political declaration stating that the war over.

Protesters in Seoul tore up photographs of Kim and threw them to the ground to highlight their dismay that North Korea’s grim record on human rights was not expected to figure in the discussions.

About half of 451 North Korean defectors questioned in a survey endured physical violence at the hands of North Korean authorities before they fled, a rights group.

Rights group Amnesty International said Trump had disregarded human rights to gain favour with Kim.

“His silence in the face of relentless and grave human rights violations has been deafening,” it said.

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Xi Jinping Says Taiwan’s Unification With China Is ‘Inevitable’

|SUYIN HAYNES, TIME|AIWA! NO!|Chinese President Xi Jinping said Taiwan’s unification with mainland China is “inevitable,” issuing a stern warning against any separatist or independence attempts on the self-governing island in a firmly-worded speech Wednesday.

Based on the long and careful speech delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping on New Year’s Eve, it is currently useful to identify his policy line and of the conceptual framework of his activity as statesman.

Based on the long and careful speech delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping on New Year’s Eve, it is currently useful to identify his policy line and of the conceptual framework of his activity as statesman.

“China must and will be united,” said Xi in reference to unification with Taiwan, AFP reports. “We make no promise to give up the use of force and reserve the option of all necessary means,” Xi added, not ruling out the use of military action against separatist efforts in Taiwan.

While Beijing still sees Taiwan as part of China’s sovereign territory despite the island’s breakaway from the mainland at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state with its own democratic political system. Taiwan has never formally declared independence from mainland China, but relations have come under pressure since the election of Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not accept the 1992 Consensus — a diplomatic agreement made between Taiwan and China acknowledging the existence of “one China.”

On Tuesday, Tsai declared that Beijing “must respect the insistence of 23 million people for freedom and democracy” and “must use peaceful and equal terms to handle our differences,” AFP reports. Merely a day later, Xi described his vision for unification via a “one country, two systems” approach to “safeguard the interests and well-being of Taiwanese compatriots.” Over the past year, Beijing has ramped up efforts to isolate Taiwan, through pressuring international companies and airlines to list the territory as part of mainland China. Taiwan also has very few diplomatic allies with a series of defections to China taking place in 2018, and it is not granted membership or access to international organizations such as the United Nations or the World Health Organization.

In mid-term elections last year, the DPP suffered losses causing Tsai to resign as party leader, while the pro-China opposition rival Kuomintang made gains. Last week, the capital city of Taipei was beset by protesters demonstrating against high taxes, echoing France’s gilet jaunes, or “yellow jackets” movement.