A quiet American in Hanoi

US community applauds Trump-Kim summit and feels optimistic about US-Vietnam relationships.

The Hanoi American Club is just five minutes away from Lake Hoan Kiem, in the heart of the Vietnamese capital.

With unrestricted access - unlike many American clubs in Asia - this is the meeting place of the US community in Hanoi, and one can feel the enthusiasm over Donald Trump's visit for the summit with Kim Jong-un, almost three years after Barack Obama's historic visit to the Vietnamese capital.

A few hours ahead of the meeting between Trump and Kim, the restaurant of this large complex, boasting a green area and an amusement park for children, welcomes its first customers of the day.

Holly Calkins, the president of the American Community Association and manager of the American Club, points out that two-thirds of the visitors are, in fact, Vietnamese.

Hailing from Michigan, Calkins moved to Hanoi two and a half years ago and has experienced moments of political rapprochement between the two countries, which have an impact on personal relationships.

"I have never felt any hostility here," she says, despite the tragic memories of the war with the US in the 1960s and the 1970s.

"For my grandparents' and my parents' generation, it's strange to hear someone say that they're going to live in Vietnam, but for us, it was an excellent opportunity," she explains, adding that "sometimes locals mention the war, but overall, the Vietnamese people are very friendly."

The summit between Trump and Kim has been a recurring topic these days.

"In spite of some skepticism regarding concrete results, the community is excited about Trump's presence and the meeting with Kim."

The American community is largely concentrated in the southern city of Ho Chi Min - the former capital of South Vietnam, previously known as Saigon - which had a large number of American troops during the war.

However, Holly Calkins points out that she sees more and more new faces at the Hanoi American Club, whether tourists, businessmen, or professionals from the US flocking to the Vietnamese capital to take advantage of the good bilateral relations and economic growth, which stood at 7% last year - the highest rate in the past 11 years.

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