HANOI – One hotel is not big enough for both the White House press corps and Kim Jong Un.
Objections by Kim and his security personnel appear to have forced organizers to move the White House press filing center from the hotel where the North Korean leader is staying.
“The American Media Center will be relocated from Melia hotel to International Media Center,” the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry tweeted just a few hours before the facility was supposed to open, and Kim was scheduled to arrive.
Journalists who were planning to use the filing center to transmit reports on the Donald Trump-Kim summit meeting in Vietnam are now using other facilities, including the area set for the international press.
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Witnesses said Kim’s security guards yelled at people and moved them out of the hotel lobby ahead of the arrival of Kim, who reportedly has near-paranoia about his personal security.
“Security forces prohibited us from taking pictures from inside the hotel though we could see (state?) camera rolling on him as his entourage came thru,” tweeted Margaret Talev, senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg. “Guards were literally right up on us saying no cameras.”
NBC News reporter Peter Alexander reported that he and other journalists were told to leave the lobby just before Kim arrived, and told not to use the elevator because that would require them to step on the red carpet that had been rolled out for Kim.
Alexander also said a North Korea security guard snapped at him to delete cellphone pictures he took of the lobby preparations.
Television crews that had spent weeks setting up equipment and establishing camera positions had to scramble in the hours ahead of Trump’s arrival in Hanoi on Tuesday night.
Earlier, some journalists had wondered if a group of working reporters would really be permitted in the same hotel as Kim Jong Un.
Kim apparently wondered the same thing.