Singapore's announcement on Sunday, June 24, that it spent a whopping Singapore$16.3 million ($12 million) on the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 has earned a mixed reaction.
The Southeast Asian city-state, one of the richest economies of the world, said the eventual expenditure was less than what was initially expected.
The two heads of state met at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Island for a day's summit which is considered a game-changer in the initiative to achieve peace in the Korean Peninsula. Months of diplomatic parleys went into the build-up to the summit which also found itself derailed once when Trump cancelled it in the face of North Korea's hostility.
The two leaders also came up with a joint document to achieve peace though it was described as vague by many experts.
Singapore was chosen as the venue for the summit because of its good relations with both the countries and also a commendable culture of security and its stance of neutrality.
Not all in Singapore were pleased when their prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong estimated that it might have to spend Singapore$20 million for the summit though the final figure was less than that. The lion share of the expense was made on the security front, Singapore's foreign affairs said in a statement.
Question as to who would pay the hotel bill for Kim Jong-un, the leader of an economically not well-off nation had made the rounds ahead of the summit and there was no shortage of volunteers. While Singapore agreed to volunteer saying it would also make it a party to the significant peace process, an international travel website also expressed interest to chip in. Besides, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons also came forward for it also gave it a lifetime opportunity to work towards nuclear disarmament. The US itself was among the probable parties to foot North Korea's bill but the idea didn't look viable for Pyongyang would have found it insulting if Washington paid it bill.
Singapore also paid the bill for the North Korean delegates who attended the summit. Kim stayed in Singapore's luxury St Regis Hotel during the summit. Besides, the bill for the facilities offered to the big contingent of journalists at the summit had also to be covered.
While the initial response to the bill that the Singapore government had to bear was displeasing for some people, there were others who felt that the publicity that Singapore got from hosting the important summit would give it a much bigger benefit in return.