China Pushes Communist Vietnam as Trump-Kim Summit Host

'Missed opportunity' if summits ignore N. Koreans' rights: UN official

Chinese state media endorsed the idea of communist Vietnam hosting the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, following a report by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun on Tuesday indicating Hanoi is under consideration as the proposed location.

An editorial in the Chinese state propaganda outlet Global Times makes the case that Vietnam fills all the necessary requirements – including adequate facilities, security guarantees, flight range restrictions, diplomatic relations with both countries, and being a developing or developed country – to host the summit.

It adds that Vietnam offers the added bonus of “not be[ing] so powerful [as] to steal the show,” suggesting that, as President Trump once hosted a television program, he is sensitive to receiving attention.

The column continues:

Vietnam can meet all the requirements. There are top class hotels in the nation, which can comfortably accommodate delegation members. Hanoi has the experience of holding international events like the APEC forum. The distance from Pyongyang to Hanoi is within Kim’s flying range.

Vietnam is a one-party state, so it is easy to ensure security. Hanoi’s achievements in Southeast Asia are remarkable though it is not as developed as Singapore. It is considered one of the new Asian tigers, with economic growth of 7.08 percent last year. And Vietnam is not so high-profile that it won’t steal the show from Trump and Kim.

The piece also cites Washington’s improved relations with Hanoi while pointing to the fact that Vietnam is also a socialist state, as the Communist Party of Vietnam has ruled the country as a one-party state since the end of the Vietnam War.

There are still some conflicts on issues such as human rights between Washington and Hanoi, but generally, ties are normal as the Southeast Asian country has improved relations with the US, receiving support, especially on the South China Sea dispute. Both Vietnam and North Korea are socialist states. Contradictions existed in the past between the two nations as the latter supported China against Vietnam, but that was decades ago. Currently, they maintain normal relations.

The suggestions underline Beijing’s eagerness to be involved in diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea. Chinese officials have previously demanded the role of a “guarantor” in all peace talks, describing their approval as “essential” for ensuring that any formal end to hostilities has both a “legal and historical status.”

Last week, Kim Jong-un visited China, which remains the North Korean regime’s most steadfast communist ally through extensive economic and political support. During the visit, Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping reportedly gave his “blessing” for a second summit to take place. China continues to lobby for the lifting of sanctions against North Korea, an idea which Washington considers a red line for until their nuclear weapons program is dismantled.

A formal date for the summit has not yet been agreed. Trump previously claimed that it would likely take place in 2019. The previous summit was held in Singapore last June, where the two sides signed a number of agreements including a pledge to “establish new U.S. – DPRK relations” and a commitment from the Kim Jong-un to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

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