Over the weekend, Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, was gearing up for the second summit between top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump slated to be held here on Feb. 27-28.
A main street in downtown Hanoi was lined with the national flags of the DPRK, Vietnam and the United States attached to lamp posts. On a bulletin erected near a hotel which will accommodate participants of the summit reads the theme of the historic meeting, “Partnership for Sustainable Peace.” Some sharp-minded businesses, including restaurants, bars and even barber shops, have launched promotional campaigns using the theme of the upcoming summit. The streets of Hanoi seemed to remain calm as city dwellers continued to enjoy their weekend and tourists buzzed around well-known attractions. But there were also increasing signs that the host was beefing up security. Gun-wielding soldiers could be seen on top of some tall buildings. Security barriers were installed outside several hotels where the leaders may stay. On Sunday afternoon, traffic control was imposed on one of the major roads in Hanoi.
Nearly 3,000 reporters registered for the summit have arrived, looking around for clues of information. Hanoi was granted the title of the “City for Peace” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999 for its contributions to the struggle for peace as well as its development that meet the organization’s standards of equality in the community, urban construction, living environment protection, culture, and education promotion and care for young generations. The Vietnamese government and its people see the summit as a way to elevate the country on the international stage. “I think this is a good opportunity. First, it demonstrates the important role of Vietnam and our strong willingness in contributing to the sustainable peace in the region and in the world,” Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told Xinhua on Saturday. “This is also a good opportunity for Vietnam and the city of Hanoi to promote their images, cooperation potentials, development, investment and tourism to the world,” she said.
The Vietnamese are confident that they can facilitate a smooth summit following the successful holding of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, a coastal resort of Vietnam. “Vietnam has successfully hosted the APEC summit when the world leaders gathered here. The international community has spoken highly of Vietnam’s security,” said Hoang Nam Son, a 72-year-old resident of Hanoi. “Based on that, the Vietnamese people are confident that the upcoming DPRK-U.S. summit will be a success,” he said.
Some analysts see technical reasons behind the decision of the DPRK and the United States in choosing Vietnam for the second summit. Both countries keep embassies in Hanoi, facilitating the preparations for the summit. Meanwhile, Vietnam maintains good relations with both sides. The temperature in Hanoi remained cool over the weekend. But the weather forecast said it will get warmer in the run-up to the summit, just as the summit itself.