Minutes after several young men erected three large panels featuring U.S. and DPRK national flags, a dove and an olive branch outside the Cultural Friendship Palace in Hanoi, a Vietnamese government official announced that preparations for the upcoming U.S.-DPRK summit have been complete.
“Our preparations (for the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un slated for Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi) have been complete in all fields,” Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung told reporters Monday at the palace, which acts as the summit’s international media center. According to him, preparatory work for the summit, including security, healthcare and communications, has been done very well under the direction and inspection of Vietnamese senior leaders, including Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, as well various ministries and sectors.
Regarding security plans, the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security has instructed different units from central to local levels, and coordinated with the Ministry of Defense and other relevant agencies to devise and implement specific plans. Security forces of the United States and the DPRK have also joined in to safeguard the summit, and ensure safety of delegates at their accommodations and on the way, the deputy minister said. “Vietnam has flexibility and charm in providing security at the maximum level for the coming summit,” he noted.
On Tuesday morning, Hanoi Police Department held a dispatching ceremony for all police units, including traffic police and flying squads. Thousands of police officers were mobilized. Following a long procession of high-capacity motorcycles driven by traffic police officers in lemon yellow uniforms were several green-colored armored vehicles with big wheels. Earlier, Hanoi’s police chief, lieutenant general Doan Duy Khuong, announced stringent security measures, including around-the-clock watch of important sites across the city, such as Noi Bai International Airport, train and coach stations. A total of 96 patrol teams were also dispatched to guard and suppress criminal activities everyday from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. At Khuong’s request, the Ministry of Public Security also dispatched 500 mobile police officers to assist Hanoi’s police.
Besides police officers at important sites and on roads, Vietnamese soldiers wearing black armors bearing the name “Bomicen” outside their camouflage uniforms can also be seen meticulously scanning every flower pot and expanse of short grass at potential venues for the summit and the hotels U.S. and DPRK delegations may be staying. Such metal scanning by “Bomicen” young men has taken place at the international media center and JW Marriott Hotel which has received a lot of U.S. equipment and vehicles, including the U.S. presidential state car nicknamed “The Beast” over the past few days. “Bomicen” is the initials of the Technology Center for Bomb and Mine Disposal under Vietnam’s Engineering Command. Concerning healthcare issues, the Ministry of Health has been taking measures to ensure hygiene, disease control, food safety, quarantine, and some major hospitals in Hanoi have been assigned to stand ready for health-related emergencies around the clock, Trung said.
Other preparatory work relating to facilities, infrastructure, communications and protocol have also been complete, although Vietnam “has only 10 days to prepare for the second summit,” compared with Singapore having nearly two months to prepare for the first U.S.-DPRK summit in June last year, the deputy minister stressed. At noon of Sunday, on the pavement in front of Melia Hotel, which has been believed to receive the DPRK delegation, chairman of Hanoi’s People Committee (the municipal government) Nguyen Duc Chung, was seen instructing hotel staff to put up long banners featuring iconic images of Hanoi, and place red flowers on the pavement. “Regarding decorations, we have finished erection of 95 banner clusters, hanging at 3,000 sites of national flags of the three countries (the DPRK, the United States and Vietnam), and erections of 27 large LED screens,” Chung told reporters on Monday. A total of 550 Vietnamese reporters and nearly 3,000 foreign journalists from over 200 foreign media outlets of nearly 40 countries and regions will cover the summit, Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said.