Marriott in Hanoi is top candidate for summit
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said representatives from both countries were expected to visit the five-star hotel in person soon to make a final decision, as they did last year when the first U.S.-North summit was held at Singapore’s Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island.
Kim Chang-son, director of the North’s State Affairs Commission, who is in charge of security and protocol issues for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, showed up in Singapore before the first summit last year.
But sources in Hanoi said no imminent signs have been detected yet that Kim Chang-son was about to arrive.
The JW Marriott is a favorite among visiting foreign leaders because the hotel is flanked by a lake on one side, making security easier than other hotels surrounded by buildings.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama stayed at the hotel in 2016 when he made an official trip to Vietnam from May 22 to 25 en route to Japan for the Group of 7 summit.
The hotel also hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in November 2017 when he traveled to the communist neighbor state to broaden bilateral ties, as did South Korean President Moon Jae-in in March 2018.
Both Xi and Moon traveled on state visits.
JW Marriott is not currently accepting online reservations for Feb. 27 and 28, the dates planned for the summit.
Many other high-end hotels in Hanoi aren’t accepting reservations as well, like the Melia Hanoi Hotel near the North Korean embassy, which often hosts visiting North Korean diplomats, or the Pan Pacific Hanoi and the Apricot Hotel near the Vietnamese presidential palace.
Another possible venue for the summit is the Vietnam National Convention Center, which hosted a variety of international events in the past, but the venue is nearly twice the size of the JW Marriott and has many entrances, meaning security would be more difficult.
Singapore’s Capella Hotel was named the venue for the first summit about a week before the meeting was about to start, so the second’s summit’s venue could be revealed next week, as two weeks are left before Kim Jong-un meets U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 27.
BY LEE YU-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]