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Vietnam Sees Upside to Summit's Media Invasion

In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 photo, journalists gather outside Metropole hotel where U.S President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are to have their meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Vietnam Sees Upside to Summit's Media Invasion
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This week, Vietnam welcomed more than 2,600 reporters from around the world for one of the biggest news stories of the year. Its capital city, Hanoi, hosted the second meeting between American President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The summit ended earlier than planned on Thursday, after the two leaders failed to reach a deal on U.S. economic restrictions and the North’s nuclear activities.

But officials in Vietnam hope the week’s media attention can help improve their country’s image. They want to see an increase in visitors and investment. And they aim to show the country as a member in good standing with the international community.

Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung told city residents to be on their best behavior, noting the large presence of foreign reporters. In a message on the city’s website, the mayor urged citizens to “heighten the image of civilized, elegant, friendly and hospitable Vietnamese people and Hanoi residents in the eyes of international press and friends.”

He also asked business owners to not increase prices of goods and services during the summit.

Little could be done about Hanoi’s traffic, however. Robert Costantini, who reports from the White House for an American radio news network, said it was like nothing he had experienced before.

He said, “All the people on motorbikes, and the bus will turn in front of them, and then they stop and try to squeeze through. It’s just amazing visually for me.”

Getting around in Hanoi is very different than in the “very rigid and disciplined society” of Singapore at the first Trump-Kim summit, Costantini added.

Many reporters also noted the high levels of security during the summit. In fact, they said the strict security sometimes made it hard to do their jobs.

Kim’s travel plans are almost always kept secret. But, getting any information connected to Kim’s activities was harder in Vietnam than it was last year in Singapore.

Peter Wang works for Taiwan’s Eastern Broadcasting Company. He said in Singapore, reporters were able to learn of some of Kim’s personal activities in advance. But, in Vietnam “it’s very hard. They blocked the road a couple blocks away and police are very strict.”

A group of American reporters got a clear understanding of Vietnam’s focus on security over media access just before the two leaders arrived in town. White House reporters were forced to leave their established work area at the Melia Hotel after last-minute word that Kim would be staying there. Their ouster reportedly came at the request of North Korean representatives.

The United States also restricted press access during the summit. It blocked four print reporters -- including one from The Associated Press -- from covering the start of Trump and Kim’s dinner in Hanoi on Wednesday. The move came after two of the reporters asked questions of the president during earlier events at the summit.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

host - v. to be the host for (a social event, a group of people, etc.) host - n. a place or organization that provides the things that are needed for a particular event

mayor - n. an official who is elected to be the head of the government of a city or town

residents - n. people who live in a particular place

elegant - adj. showing good taste : graceful and attractive

squeeze - v. to move into or through a small or crowded space

rigid - adj. not easily changed

disciplined - adj. related to having rules or orders that must be obeyed and punishing bad behavior

strict - adj. used to describe a command, rule, etc., that must be obeyed

access - n. a way of getting near, at, or to something or someone