President Trump meets with Kim Jong Un
A source close to the planning of Wednesday's dinner between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim said that as of a few hours ago, chefs were still struggling to get a menu approved by both the US and North Korea.
The source said officials from both sides -- but especially the White House -- kept adjusting the menu to make it "super simple," with the source adding it seemed like the US side wanted to avoid any opulence.
The source told CNN that almost all the meeting, dining and lounge spaces have been booked out at the Metropole hotel with the exception of two. The courtyard which houses the pool and bar area is also off limits.
After a working lunch meeting with Vietnamese leaders, President Trump has returned to his Hanoi hotel, where -- according to his schedule -- he will remain for several hours ahead of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Wednesday evening local time.
The Vietnamese capital is famous for its sidewalks packed with plastic stools and motorbikes, part of a bustling street commerce carried out at all times of the day.
But it seems this is a side of Hanoi the authorities don't particularly want the world to see this week. One local street vendor told CNN the police went around to local shops and told them to keep the sidewalks clear during the summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim.
President Trump's presence in Vietnam has been seized upon by Hanoi as a means to boost its relationship with Washington.
Trump and Vietnamese leaders have lavished praise upon each other, while key businesses from both countries have also signed memorandums of understanding worth in theory billions of dollars.
In a tweet Wednesday, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs boasted of the country's "comprehensive partnership" with the US.
President Trump and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen are currently sharing a working lunch in the country's Presidential Palace in Hanoi.
Here's what they're eating:
First course: Fresh shredded green mango salad with scallops, mint leaves and cashew nuts served in a sweet vinaigrette dressing.
Second course: Deep fried Hanoi-style spring rolls with shrimp, pork, vermicelli and vegetables served with a side of sweet and sour fish sauce and red chillies.
Third course: King crab meat and spinach in a light seafood-based broth.
Fourth course: Grilled cod fish “cha ca”; roasted Wagyu beef medallions with foie gras and a semi-sweet fermented black rice sauce; sautéed “su su” vegetables with garlic (crispy green chayote stems and leaves); steamed sticky glutinous rice with shrimp wrapped in a lotus leaf.
Dessert: A traditional Vietnamese dessert consisting of lotus seeds, longans, and white wood-ear mushrooms served warm and in a light sugary syrup.
After a draining two-and-a-half day train journey across China, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un checked in to the Melia Hotel in Hanoi Tuesday.
There had been wide speculation about where Kim would stay, given his security requirements.
The 21-story property, with 306 rooms and suites, is located in the historic heart of Hanoi and is just walking distance from the presumed summit sites -- Government Guest House and the Sofitel Legend Metropole.
Even better, it's less than one mile away from the North Korea Embassy.
Sitting down for bilateral talks, President Trump and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc were full of praise for each others' achievements in the past year.
Nguyen spoke warmly of the US and its economic success under Trump. "Congratulations on your economic performance Mr President," Nguyen said.
In turn, President Trump credited Nguyen for the "tremendous progress" Vietnam had made since the US leader's last trip in 2017.
He also said he appreciated potential Vietnamese purchases of US military equipment, which he said was "the best military equipment in the world by far."
Speaking ahead of a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart Donald Trump, Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong said his country has "made every effort" to ensure "the best conditions for the success of this very special meeting."
Vietnam has rolled out the red carpet for the two leaders and their entourages, as well as a huge international press and diplomatic corp who have travelled to Hanoi to watch the second US-North Korea summit.
In an exclusive interview with CNN Tuesday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said his country will "spare no effort" to host a successful summit, pointing to Hanoi and Washington's own history of rapprochement.
"We deeply appreciate the meaning of peace and reconciliation. Contributing towards peace is a responsibility of each nation in this day and age," PM Nguyen said.
President Trump has now joined Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi's Presidential Palace.
The two leaders walked past a line of young children waving US and Vietnamese flags.
Half way down the line, Trump stopped and greeted the children with a smile, before taking two of their flags and waving them for the cameras with Nguyen.