Kim’s human shield: North Korean leader’s limo is surrounded by bodyguards in Vietnam

Kim Jong-un‘s armoured limousine was flanked by a circle of jogging bodyguards as it made its way to North Korea‘s embassy in Vietnam today.

Security guards dressed in dark suits ran alongside the dictator’s blacked out limo as it left Hanoi’s Melia Hotel and headed to the embassy.

Motorcycle outriders then escorted Kim’s vehicle on the short journey before more bodyguards took up positions to form a human shield as he entered the compound.

The 35-year-old and US President Donald are both in Vietnam on the eve of their second summit at which they will tackle how to implement a North Korean pledge to ‘denuclearize’ the Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong-un's armoured limousine was flanked by a circle of jogging bodyguards as it made its way to North Korea's embassy in Vietnam today

Kim Jong-un's armoured limousine was flanked by a circle of jogging bodyguards as it made its way to North Korea's embassy in Vietnam today

Kim Jong-un’s armoured limousine was flanked by a circle of jogging bodyguards as it made its way to North Korea’s embassy in Vietnam today

Men dressed in dark suits ran alongside the dictator's blacked out limo as it left Hanoi's Melia Hotel and headed to the embassy

Men dressed in dark suits ran alongside the dictator's blacked out limo as it left Hanoi's Melia Hotel and headed to the embassy

Men dressed in dark suits ran alongside the dictator’s blacked out limo as it left Hanoi’s Melia Hotel and headed to the embassy

About a dozen bodyguards briefly ran alongside Kim's car as he set off for the two-hour journey to Hanoi, smiling and waving to children lining the route from his limousine

About a dozen bodyguards briefly ran alongside Kim's car as he set off for the two-hour journey to Hanoi, smiling and waving to children lining the route from his limousine

About a dozen bodyguards briefly ran alongside Kim’s car as he set off for the two-hour journey to Hanoi, smiling and waving to children lining the route from his limousine

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un leaves the North Korean embassy today flanked by officials

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un leaves the North Korean embassy today flanked by officials

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un leaves the North Korean embassy today flanked by officials

Trump flew into the capital Hanoi on Air Force One, touching down just before 9pm.

Air Force One landed in Vietnam in darkness after a flight that included two stops for refueling in the UK and Qatar. 

The president waved to a small crowd that gathered for his arrival, before slowly walking down a staircase to greet Vietnamese dignitaries.

He stepped onto a red carpet and chatted with attendees of the sedate diplomatic ceremony before getting into his motorcade. 

Kim arrived by train early in the day after a three-day, 1,850-mile journey from his capital, Pyongyang, through China. He completed the last stretch from a border station to Hanoi by car.

The two leaders, who seemed to strike up a surprisingly warm relationship at their first summit in Singapore last June, 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.

They will meet again on Thursday, she said.

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

Kim's black limousine was seen departing the Vietnamese capital's Melia Hotel on Tuesday evening flanked by bodyguards. The convoy was escorted by motorcycle outriders as curious spectators and journalists looked on

Kim's black limousine was seen departing the Vietnamese capital's Melia Hotel on Tuesday evening flanked by bodyguards. The convoy was escorted by motorcycle outriders as curious spectators and journalists looked on

Kim’s black limousine was seen departing the Vietnamese capital’s Melia Hotel on Tuesday evening flanked by bodyguards. The convoy was escorted by motorcycle outriders as curious spectators and journalists looked on

Upon arriving at the embassy a short drive away, more bodyguards took up positions alongside his car. Loud cheers could be heard as he entered the compound

Upon arriving at the embassy a short drive away, more bodyguards took up positions alongside his car. Loud cheers could be heard as he entered the compound

Upon arriving at the embassy a short drive away, more bodyguards took up positions alongside his car. Loud cheers could be heard as he entered the compound

The motorcade carrying North Korea leader Kim Jong Un leave the North Korea embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam today

The motorcade carrying North Korea leader Kim Jong Un leave the North Korea embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam today

The motorcade carrying North Korea leader Kim Jong Un leave the North Korea embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam today

Trump and Kim Jong Un’s Hanoi itinerary 

Tuesday evening: 

Trump spends the night in his hotel in Hanoi

Wednesday:

Trump meets the president of Vietnam

Signs trade documents with Vietnamese

Holds a photo-op with Vietnamese pime minister

Expanded meetings and working lunch with prime minister

Wednesday evening:

Trump meets one-on-one with Kim for a brief greeting

‘Social dinner’ with Kim accompanied by Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney

Thursday: 

Further summit meetings. No details yet released by White House

 

While the first meeting was all about breaking the ice after decades of war and bitter animosity between their countries, this time there will be pressure on both to move beyond the vaguely-worded commitment they made in Singapore to work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Trump’s critics at home have warned him 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 US concessions such as relief from punishing sanctions and a declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is at last formally over.

Vietnamese officials were on hand to greet Kim at the station in Dong Dang town after he crossed the border from China. He got a red-carpet welcome with honour guard, military band and fluttering North Korean and Vietnamese flags.

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

President Donald Trump waves as he disembarks from Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on February 26

President Donald Trump waves as he disembarks from Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on February 26

President Donald Trump waves as he disembarks from Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on February 26

President Trump walks by a Vietnamese soldier as he arrives for summit talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un

President Trump walks by a Vietnamese soldier as he arrives for summit talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un

President Trump walks by a Vietnamese soldier as he arrives for summit talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un

About a dozen bodyguards briefly ran alongside Kim’s car as he set off for the two-hour journey to Hanoi, smiling and waving to children lining the route from his limousine.

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

Vietnamese authorities have been tight-lipped about the summit and have yet to announce where the two will meet.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also arrived on Tuesday and met Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh for talks. 

Blowing off steam! Kim Jong-un enjoys a cigarette break during 70-hour train ride from North Korea to Vietnam for his summit with Trump 

 Running a country can be stressful – so it’s perhaps no surprise that Kim Jong-un needed to blow off some steam while on his way to meet Donald Trump in Vietnam.

During his mammoth 70-hour train journey from Pyongyang to Vietnam, the North Korean dictator stopped at Nanning station, in southern China, for a cigarette break.

Kim was spotted walking along the platform around 3.30am during a half-hour stop when he smoked a cigarette or two alongside some of his most trusted aides.

Kim is well-known as a smoker, and in 2017 he was pictured enjoying a cigarette in front of a liquid-fuelled ballistic missile, despite the risk of a catastrophic explosion

Kim is well-known as a smoker, and in 2017 he was pictured enjoying a cigarette in front of a liquid-fuelled ballistic missile, despite the risk of a catastrophic explosion

Kim is well-known as a smoker, and in 2017 he was pictured enjoying a cigarette in front of a liquid-fuelled ballistic missile, despite the risk of a catastrophic explosion

Kim was accompanied by some of his closest aides as he smoked, including a man who appeared to be top diplomat Ri Yong-ho (left)

Kim was accompanied by some of his closest aides as he smoked, including a man who appeared to be top diplomat Ri Yong-ho (left)

Kim was accompanied by some of his closest aides as he smoked, including a man who appeared to be top diplomat Ri Yong-ho (left)

Wife Ri Sol-ju was seen talking to another woman on the platform, while Kim held discussions with his top diplomat Ri Yong-ho.

His sister Kim Yo-jong was also seen carrying a large crystal ashtray for the dictator to stub his cigarettes in.

After the brief stop Kim and his entourage climbed back on board the heavily armoured train and were taken to Dong Dang, in northern Vietnam.

From there, Kim swapped the train for his limousine which drove him to Hanoi, where he arrived on Tuesday morning.

He is thought to be staying at the Melia Hanoi hotel located in the city center ahead of his summit with President Trump, who is en route to the country.

While Kim travelled to his previous summit in Singapore by plane, the North Korean prefers to travel by train where possible, so fearful is he of being assassinated.

The North Korean dictator took a mammoth 70-hour train journey to reach Vietnam from Pyongyang. He prefers not to fly for fear of being assassinated

The North Korean dictator took a mammoth 70-hour train journey to reach Vietnam from Pyongyang. He prefers not to fly for fear of being assassinated

The North Korean dictator took a mammoth 70-hour train journey to reach Vietnam from Pyongyang. He prefers not to fly for fear of being assassinated

Kim Yo-jong, the leader's sister, was on hand carrying a large crystal ashtray for him to stub his cigarettes out in

Kim Yo-jong, the leader's sister, was on hand carrying a large crystal ashtray for him to stub his cigarettes out in

Kim Yo-jong, the leader’s sister, was on hand carrying a large crystal ashtray for him to stub his cigarettes out in

Kim Jong-un stopped for a cigarette break at Nanning station in southern China around 3.30am on Tuesday while on his way to Vietnam

Kim Jong-un stopped for a cigarette break at Nanning station in southern China around 3.30am on Tuesday while on his way to Vietnam

Kim Jong-un stopped for a cigarette break at Nanning station in southern China around 3.30am on Tuesday while on his way to Vietnam

Trump told reporters before he left he 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 the possibility of a major breakthrough, 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 its last intercontinental ballistic missile test in November 2017.

 Kim Jong Un crossed into Vietnam on Tuesday after a 2,800-mile journey from Pyongyang on his olive-green train 

 Kim Jong Un crossed into Vietnam on Tuesday after a 2,800-mile journey from Pyongyang on his olive-green train 

 Kim Jong Un crossed into Vietnam on Tuesday after a 2,800-mile journey from Pyongyang on his olive-green train 

His journey from Pyongyang was shrouded in secrecy but numerous sightings of the train were made over the past few days

His journey from Pyongyang was shrouded in secrecy but numerous sightings of the train were made over the past few days

His journey from Pyongyang was shrouded in secrecy but numerous sightings of the train were made over the past few days

Schoolchildren waving North Korean flags and a military guard of honor greeted Kim as he stepped onto the platform, draped in a red carpet

Schoolchildren waving North Korean flags and a military guard of honor greeted Kim as he stepped onto the platform, draped in a red carpet

Schoolchildren waving North Korean flags and a military guard of honor greeted Kim as he stepped onto the platform, draped in a red carpet

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 Stanfordâs 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.â

While the United States is demanding 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 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.

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

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. 

Kim Jong-un has had 421 officials ‘purged’ and executed – with victims fed naked to animals, blown up with anti-aircraft guns or burned alive, South Korean report claims 

Kim Jong-un is using barbaric methods to ‘purge’ his officials and cling onto power, according to a damning South Korean investigation.

The dictator has had 421 officials executed and exiled since seizing power in 2011, with victims being fed naked to hunting dogs, blown up with anti-aircraft guns, burned alive with flamethrowers and hanged, the report claims.

In some cases, entire families of officials have been executed while others were imprisoned in concentration camps and ‘erased from society’.

Kim is also said to have ordered the execution of his own family members, including his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was executed in 2013, and his half-brother Jong-nam, who was assassinated at a Malaysian airport in 2017.

Kim Jong-un (pictured in Vietnam ahead of his summit with Donald Trump) has purged 421 officials since seizing power in 2011, including his own family members, according to a damning South Korean report

Kim Jong-un (pictured in Vietnam ahead of his summit with Donald Trump) has purged 421 officials since seizing power in 2011, including his own family members, according to a damning South Korean report

Kim Jong-un (pictured in Vietnam ahead of his summit with Donald Trump) has purged 421 officials since seizing power in 2011, including his own family members, according to a damning South Korean report

When the North Korean leader had his uncle Jang killed, ‘more than 15 people were killed and 400 others were purged,’ according to the collection of accounts from high-ranking defectors.

Titled ‘Executions and Purges of North Korean Elites: An Investigation into Genocide Based on High-Ranking Officials’ Testimonies’, the report was researched by the Seoul-based North Korean Strategy Centre (NKSC).

It combined the accounts of 14 North Korean elite group defectors, six North Korean officials in China and five other defectors who witnessed executions.

The investigation found that Kim ordered the execution of his uncle because Jang ‘sold the country’s resources to foreign countries at a low price.’

The dictator (waving on arrival at Dong Dang Station, flanked by his security) has had victims fed naked to animals, blown up with anti-aircraft guns, hanged and burned alive with flamethrowers, the report claims

It also claims officials faced death or imprisonment for minor infractions such as slouching at an event attended by the supreme leader.

The report lists the full names of more than 50 purged victims, while confirming that hundreds more were executed but never named.

Moon, a former student at Pyongyang Commercial College, said in the report he’d witnessed a 12-man public execution by soldiers using four anti-aircraft guns.

He said that, one-by-one, four guns were aimed blew up the victims, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), before armored vehicles were used to crush their remains.

Moon said he suffered from PTSD following the killings.

The report was analysed at a Human Rights panel discussion in Washington last Friday.

Jared Genser, a member of Human Rights in North Korea’s (HRNK) International Advisory Council, explained that these methods were to strike fear into the hearts of the entire population, from the average citizen to high ranking officials

Kim's half-brother Jong-nam, who was assassinated in 2017 by two women who attacked him with a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia 

Kim's half-brother Jong-nam, who was assassinated in 2017 by two women who attacked him with a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia 

Kim’s half-brother Jong-nam, who was assassinated in 2017 by two women who attacked him with a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia 

‘They need to instill fear into people working for the authoritarian leader, and they need to keep people at bay by making them very fearful that anything they say or do could result in torture, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary detention and so forth,’ Genser said, RFA reports.

He issued a plea to US President Donald Trump to raise human rights with Kim as they discuss nuclear disarmament at their summit in Hanoi today.

‘Read this report that has hard evidence of the facts, and they’re corroborated. Know your counterpart, who he is. The single most important issue when dealing with him is not denuclearization. It is the human rights issue,’ said Kang.

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