DPRK leader Marshal Kim Jong Un has just arrived in the Chinese border city of Dandong to what is, for the head of a country that has recently been dominating world headlines, an atypically muted reception.
The streets of Dandong are reportedly eerily quiet and the train station has been completely cordoned off, with civilians denied access for the time that Kim Jong Un is present.
The train will travel for around 40 hours to the Vietnamese border city of Dong Deng before the entourage crosses the border. It is reported that Kim Jong Un and his entourage will undertake the last leg of the journey by car, with Vietnamese authorities closing the roads to traffic whilst the young Korean leader passes through.
The North Korean delegation are expected to stay in the high-end Melia hotel, notable for having housed the North Korean foreign minister during his visit late last year. Foreign media outlets have been informed by the Vietnamese government that live broadcasts will be forbidden around the Melia hotel during the summit, which strengthens the speculation that the luxury hotel will host Kim Jong Un.
It has been confirmed that, much like in Singapore, there will be an official state visit to the President of Vietnam before moving onto the summit.
Whilst the summit location has not yet been confirmed, it is expected that it will either be held at the Government Guesthouse or the Metropole Hotel. Observers noted last week that workers were laying communication cables nearby the Metropole Hotel.
How successful the summit will be is a matter of speculation at present, but the people of Hanoi have certainly been getting into the spirit of things; one bar is selling a pun-tastic ‘Kim Jong Ale’, and one local salon is offering ‘Trump’ or ‘Kim’ haircuts free of charge.
No matter what, it is going to be an interesting year for the DPRK!