Singapore prepares for June 12 summit; ready to bear cost to play small part, says city-state
Singapore, the small city-state in Southeast Asia, will remain the focal point of world politics for the next one week as the buildup to the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 gathered pace.
Trump cancelled the talks on May 24 citing North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility" but later said his meeting with Kim was on the track. Subsequently, preparations were in full swing as hotel rooms started getting booked and police patrolling intensified across the city.
The exact venue of the summit was though not known but top hotels in the city-state, including the five-star Shangri-La Hotel, were being seen as the possible host, China's Global Times reported. Shangri-La Hotel hosts the annual Shangri-La Dialogue where representatives from several countries assemble. This year's meet at the hotel was held as recently between June 1 and 3. The hotel is among the top options because of its top security arrangements and quality facilities.
The Global Times reported on Sunday, June 3, that the hotel tightened its security and some nearby streets to it were also shut. Though the security checks were in place for the Shangri-La Dialogue, the hotel authorities did not clarify if they would continue till the June 12 summit, it said.
Officials from the US and North Korea are also staying at various hotels in Singapore for the preparations ahead of the meeting - the first-ever between a US president and a North Korean leader.
Reuters reported that Singapore is willing to bear the bill for the summit "to play a small part" in the historic meeting. It cited Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen saying so. The Washington Post had earlier reported about some logistical disputes like who would pay for Kim's hotels bills. North Korea's economy has been badly crippled by a series of sanctions imposed by the United Nations as a penalty for its reckless nuclear programmes pursued till last year.
Some Singapore residents were concerned that the arrival of a number of leaders and diplomats could put their lives in convenience because of the summit but others remained indifferent towards it, the Global Times report said.