Monday, 11 June 2018

Trump-Kim summit: $20 million bill to host US-North Korea meeting in Singapore

It's "a cost we are willing to pay", and Singapore must step up and do a good job, says Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead of landmark June 12 summit
By Royston Sim, Deputy Political Editor, The Straits Times, 11 Jun 2018

The bill for hosting the historic Trump-Kim summit will come up to about $20 million, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, adding that this is Singapore's contribution to an international endeavour that is "in our profound interest". "It is a cost we are willing to pay," he said, adding that security costs would account for about half that figure.

Speaking to the Singapore media yesterday during a visit to the international media centre, Mr Lee noted that the summit is a very major operation, due to - among other things - its scale, the number of journalists here to cover it and the level of security required.

The security requirements are much higher than for previous meetings because of the profile of this summit and the nature of what is being discussed, he added.

Delving into some of the details, he said it involves not just cordons of policemen around the meeting venue but "all-round protection and in-depth protection - air, sea, land, against attack and against mishap".

"So this is a very major operation, because it's a high-profile meeting and we cannot afford to have anything go wrong."

Mr Lee also said Singapore might be able to recoup some of the costs of hosting the summit. Asked to elaborate, he replied: "If you calculate the price of everything in this world, you will miss out on the real important things. And in this case what is important is that the summit is held, and we are hosting it, not extravagantly but with due consideration to costs, but making sure operational requirements are met."

Besides the security bill, another substantial part of the costs is from facilitating the 2,500-strong contingent of journalists here. A Ministry of Communications and Information source said that this - including the set-up of the international media centre at the F1 Pit Building - comes in at around $5 million.

The $20 million bill for the summit is a fraction of the $150 million spent each year to host past editions of the Formula One race.

The issue of cost has, however, raised questions among some Singaporeans, who have also chafed at having to contend with restricted access and road closures.

Asked about this, Mr Lee said that what is important to keep in mind is the significance of the summit and also what hosting it successfully could mean for Singapore.

It is, he said, not just a whole-of-government effort, but a "whole of Singapore effort", involving people ranging from press officers to bomb disposal unit experts.

It also includes ordinary Singaporeans whose lives have been "a little bit inconvenienced because roads have been cordoned off and traffic jams can happen - I hope you will understand this is for a good cause, it is a national effort, and I hope we will all be able to work together to show the world what Singapore can do".

Yesterday, Mr Lee also visited Singapore Armed Forces troops deployed at Palawan Kidz City on Sentosa, and the Home Team command post in Novena. "The officers have done a good job under very pressed circumstances," he said, pointing to the short notice given. It was only two weeks ago that it was confirmed the summit was going ahead.

It is not easy to find a suitable location to host such a meeting, observed Mr Lee, as both the Americans and the North Koreans must agree on a venue that meets their requirements and is politically and diplomatically acceptable to them.

"Therefore, when the two sides asked us to host the meeting, we cannot say no," he said. "We have to step up... We can do a good job."

The summit is a plus for Singapore, in terms of its reputation, its standing and "how people look at us", he added. "It gives us publicity. The fact that we have been chosen as the site of the meeting - we did not ask for it, but we were asked and we agreed - says something about Singapore's relations with the parties, with America, with North Korea, also our standing in the international community."

Singapore is one of the few countries that have diplomatic relations with both sides. Mr Lee added: "I think people will sit up and say, why is this meeting happening in Singapore, and they will draw their conclusions, and they will see how things are run. And I'm sure that we will be able to show what Singapore can do, so I think it's a plus for Singapore."

PM Lee Hsien Loong hopes summit will get things moving in positive direction
He notes that path to denuclearisation is long process, but historic meeting can be first step
By Royston Sim, Deputy Political Editor, The Straits Times, 11 Jun 2018

The historic Trump-Kim summit could set developments on the Korean peninsula on a constructive path, marking a U-turn in a situation that has been heading in the wrong direction, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

This, in turn, affects the security of not just Asia, but also the whole world, he said, adding that he hopes tomorrow's meeting - the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader - will eventually lead to denuclearisation.

"That's a long process, but this is a first step. And if the first step happens in Singapore, well, we are happy to be associated with it."

Mr Lee was speaking to Singapore media during a visit to the international media centre at the F1 Pit Building.

He noted that North Korea and South Korea have been at war since 1950. The North invaded the South on June 25 that year, and today, both sides remain technically at war.

Over the past three decades or so, North Korea has embarked on a nuclear weapons programme. Successive US presidents, other world leaders and the United Nations have tried to pressure or cajole the country into scrapping it but with little success.

Mr Lee said yesterday there have been numerous discussions and agreements that were broken. Mistrust and misunderstanding have built up over the years as a result.

"So you cannot wipe that all away with one meeting," he said. "What you can hope to do is to start things moving in a positive direction."

On what this means for Asean, including Singapore, he said: "Indirectly, an unstable or tense North-east Asia is not good for us. So we hope that this will lead to stability and peace in North-east Asia, and that indirectly will be to our benefit."

Singapore could also conceivably see its trade with North Korea grow in the long term if the geopolitical situation improves.

Mr Lee noted that Singapore's trade with North Korea has substantially diminished to a "negligible level" of $700,000 last year - a 96 per cent drop from 2016.

Singapore was North Korea's seventh-largest trading partner last year, before it suspended all trade with Pyongyang last November in line with toughened sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. Statistics on trade between both sides are not readily available.

"Of course if there's an agreement, if there's progress, the sanctions are lifted, I expect our trade will grow," said Mr Lee. "But it will take some time."

Mr Lee met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, yesterday evening, and will meet US President Donald Trump today.

Asked what he intended to discuss with them, Mr Lee replied: "I think they will be focused on their bilateral meeting. My meeting with them is a courtesy call, and I will of course hear what's on their minds, and I will tell them that they have our full support to make this a successful meeting."

Trump-Kim summit an opportunity for Singapore to showcase its capabilities, says Vivian Balakrishnan
Summit is an affirmation of Republic's neutrality and contribution to world peace
By Danson Cheong, China Correspondent In Beijing, The Sunday Times, 10 Jun 2018

The United States and North Korea summit is an opportunity not just for a breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula, but also for Singapore to showcase its capabilities to the world, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

While there would be inconveniences to Singaporeans, he said he knew from feedback that Singaporeans were proud that the country was trusted to host the event. He said he was sure that Singaporeans "will put forward our best face to the world".

Dr Balakrishnan, who spoke to Singapore media yesterday in Beijing en route to Singapore after a five-day trip to Washington and Pyongyang, said some have called the summit an "incredible branding opportunity" for the Republic. He said: "This is also an opportunity when there is enormous global attention on Singapore as the host, and on Singaporeans and our capabilities, for us to make a difference."

Some 2,500 journalists are expected to be in Singapore to cover the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission.

Dr Balakrishnan said the summit was one of Singapore's "most significant security operations" and goes beyond just serving coffee and tea.

"This is our contribution to world peace and also our opportunity to show an aspect of Singapore that we sometimes take for granted - our security, efficiency, unity of purpose, ability to get things done, to plan in detail and also to react to contingencies and changes in plan," he added.

Singapore has hosted historic summits before, including in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping met then Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.

The upcoming meeting is an affirmation of Singapore's neutrality, and its 53-year pursuit of an "independent, principled, fair and honest diplomacy", said Dr Balakrishnan. Singapore has diplomatic ties with both North Korea and the US. Dr Balakrishnan said the fact that both sides asked Singapore to host the meeting reflects its track record, open communication with both sides, discreetness and trustworthiness, and was an "enormous affirmation" of Singapore's value.

"Sometimes people ask us why we are so principled, why so consistent, why we sometimes refuse to bend with the seasonal wind. This is the point - people know we won't be bought, intimidated, will maintain a steady principled course. We don't play games, we don't engage in polemics," he said.

Dr Balakrishnan was also asked about the costs of hosting the summit. He said he did not have specific figures, but added that while Singapore was extending hospitality to the North Koreans, as it would for any state visit, they would have to pay some of their own costs. But he added that every dollar will be spent appropriately.

Trump-Kim summit: Helping peace process in the interests of all, including Singapore, says Shanmugam
Summit a major show of confidence in Singapore
By Tan Tam Mei, The Straits Times, 9 Jun 2018

It is important for the world - including Singapore - to help the peace process through a historic summit on Tuesday between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

Describing the summit taking place at the Capella hotel on Singapore's Sentosa island as a "major show of confidence" in the Republic, Mr Shanmugam also explained Singapore's interests in contributing to the peace process.

With Singapore seven hours away by flight from the Korean peninsula and about 20 minutes away by missile, any incident in that region will affect the country badly, he told reporters yesterday.

"You have a nuclear-capable North Korea. You have American troops in South Korea. And, saying the obvious, the US is a nuclear state," said Mr Shanmugam.

"You have a stand-off with the United States and DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and you have a nervous South Korea and Japan."

Any incident during this "period of tension" will be bad for the world, including Asia and Singapore, said the former foreign affairs minister, stressing that Singaporean jobs, trade and investment could be affected.

With all these at stake, local security forces have been "working around the clock" to ensure a successful summit, said Mr Shanmugam, adding that "very detailed" plans are in place, with thousands of security personnel being deployed and national servicemen recalled.

He said it "says much" that both nations, with leaders who are high-profile targets and take security very seriously, have agreed on Singapore as the venue.

"They believe that we, Singapore, can provide a safe and secure venue... We are a little red dot, but we are a serious member of the international community," he added.

While there has been online chatter showing displeasure at the fact that Singapore is footing the bill for the security and logistics of the summit, Mr Shanmugam said he believed most Singaporeans understood the importance of the event.

"For the world, it is absolutely good if there is a successful summit. The fact that they have come to speak to each other itself is seen by many as a good thing."

He said Singapore takes a "no-nonsense approach" to security, and highlighted the incident on Wednesday where Australian Zeky Mallah, 34, was denied entry on account of his previous terror-related activities.

He also touched on the case on Thursday where two South Korean media personnel were arrested for trespassing on the North Korean ambassador's home, saying it is being investigated.

"We take this sort of thing seriously and, of course, we will put a stop to it and will investigate if people are reported or if we find out," said Mr Shanmugam.

Trump-Kim summit: Positive impact on Singapore brand likely to be big in the long term
Biggest cost item of all is expense on summit security; but restaurants, hotels and security firms cashing in
By Elgin Toh, Deputy Political Editor and Ng Jun Sen, Political Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 10 Jun 2018

Malaysia's richest man Robert Kuok does not need the business.

But business he will get at his Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore - heavily tipped to be hosting United States President Donald Trump and his delegation this week.

Mr Kuok tells The Sunday Times: "I naturally feel happy for Shangri-La."

But he has more than dollars and cents on his mind.

The 94-year-old said: "Like everyone else, I share feelings of happiness - although some small feeling of anxiety in case things go wrong - that Singapore is hosting such a major historic event.

"I hope the summit will bring good and beneficial results to all of us living on this planet."

Indeed, hopes are high that Tuesday's event - an unprecedented meeting between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission - will eventually yield "a bountiful harvest" in peace dividends, as Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan put it yesterday.

More immediately, hosting the DPRK-USA Singapore Summit - as it is called - will benefit Singapore both in economic and strategic terms, said observers.

The event will be a boost for industries including hotels, restaurants and security, helping to create some jobs, as well as burnishing Singapore's image on the international stage.

This will likely outweigh the costs, risks and inconveniences associated with playing host to the high-profile summit, they added.

Crunching the numbers, CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun said the immediate spike in hotel and other tourism-related spending will reach tens of millions. This is based on Singapore Tourism Board estimates that each visitor to Singapore spends an average of $1,500 over a 3 1/2-day stay.

More than 2,500 journalists have registered to cover the event.

Officials from the US, North Korea and other countries will number in the thousands too.

Besides Shangri-La, the other two hotels playing key roles are The St Regis Singapore, where Mr Kim is expected to stay, and the Capella Singapore hotel on Sentosa, where the summit is taking place.

Incidentally, all three are owned by Singaporeans or a Malaysian, as in Shangri-La's case.

And then there are tourists who make last-minute plans to travel to Singapore "to experience this historic occasion", said Ms Zarina Othman, a director at conference organiser MCI Singapore.

A summit also generates spending on private security services and equipment. For instance, Certis has been appointed one of the service providers.

Businesses are also looking to cash in, with a slew of offerings, from Trump-Kim burgers to summit souvenirs to T-shirts.

Singapore's reputation as a foodie paradise could also get a polish, with foreign journalists offered a taste of local fare like durian ice cream, nasi lemak and chicken briyani.

"It is a golden opportunity to show how unique Singapore's food and beverage identity is," said Mr David Yim, co-founder of Udders Ice Cream, part of the consortium The Common Good Company, which is sponsoring food products at the International Media Centre.

But being placed under such an intense international spotlight comes with risks and costs. If there is a security breach, for example, the damage to Singapore's reputation will be severe, said Dr Tomoo Kikuchi of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).

Then there are costs, like the inconvenience to the public from road closures and events cancelled due to clashes with the summit.

Some businesses may see lower takings. Retailers may be affected if security measures disrupt foot traffic, said Mr Mark Shaw, chairman of the Orchard Road Business Association.

Dr Graham Ong-Webb of RSIS believes there should be compensation for businesses adversely affected by the summit.

The biggest cost item of all is the cost of security arrangements. Singapore has said it is footing the bill.

Asked about the estimated total cost, Dr Balakrishnan said he did not have the figures, but added that it will be substantial, as it is a "major security operation".

"Every dollar is spent appropriately," he said. "This is... an enormous affirmation of Singapore's value proposition to the world."

Analysts concur, saying that the long-term positive impact on Singapore Inc is likely to be big.

The summit enhances the value of the Singapore brand, associating it with being safe, secure and trustworthy, said Mr Serguei Beloussov, chief executive officer of tech company Acronis, headquartered in Singapore and Switzerland.

"If you didn't know where Singapore was before, you would now," added Mr Song.

While many international events like the Formula One race reach niche audiences, a major political summit reaches a mass international audience, he said, estimating the total boost to the economy to be in the billions over a decade.

Beyond economic benefits, there are strategic ones as well.

Dr Ong-Webb said Singapore could also become the go-to place for all high-level conflict resolution summits.

Hosting the summit well also projects Singapore's soft power and wins it goodwill with the US, North Korea and other countries, said Dr Alan Chong of RSIS. He said: "Singapore may become the economic and diplomatic gateway between the West and the East."

Trump-Kim summit a priceless branding opportunity for Singapore, Sentosa and hotels involved, say industry experts
The images of Singapore – and Sentosa – splashed across the front pages of newspapers and television broadcasts worldwide will not only benefit Singapore’s tourism industry.
By Lianne Chia, Channel NewsAsia, 9 Jun 2018

With the world watching the upcoming Trump-Kim summit intently, the spotlight has also been turned on Singapore – and its role as host. And according to marketing and hospitality experts Channel NewsAsia spoke to, the summit is a priceless opportunity for Singapore to showcase itself to the world.

Preparations are well underway for Tuesday’s summit, which will be held at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island, and in the lead-up, images of Singapore have been splashed across the front pages of newspapers and television broadcasts around the world.

This, said founder of marketing consultancy Kepios Simon Kemp, can help raise valuable awareness about what the country can offer.

“When I go travelling around the world, I find that a lot of people know that we exist, but they have no idea where we are on the map, and have no idea that we’re not part of China,” said Mr Kemp. “They have no idea how clean it is, how vibrant the city is...and once they do…I don’t think anything more than simple awareness is needed for people to add Singapore to their list of destinations.”

“The Formula 1 race has done a wonderful job in projecting Singapore’s landscape, image, and beautiful skyline on a global scale, and the upcoming summit will do the same,” added Lars Voedisch, managing director of PRecious Communications. “This is something that a lot of countries would pay a lot of money for.”

And when the throng of international media land in Singapore, they will experience, according to managing director of public relations firm Asia PR Werkz Cho Pei Lin, what she terms the “Singapore DNA”.

“From welcoming them at Changi Airport, to our garden city, connected infrastructure and transport network, a SMART Nation, clean and efficient, and the ability to put together the summit at short notice whilst ensuring safety and security for the two delegations and Singaporeans,” she said. “It is an opportunity like never before to showcase Singapore to the world.”

“As a Singaporean, I’m very proud that we are trusted by the United States and DPRK to put this together on such short notice,” she added.


Citing high-level meetings Singapore has hosted in the past, such as the Shangri-La Dialogue and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, Mr Voedisch added that the summit will reinforce Singapore’s reputation for being a go-to destination for such meetings.

This, he said, could also have benefits in attracting more foreign companies to set up shop in Singapore.

“If everything goes as planned, it will re-emphasise the image that Singapore is one of the safest places on Earth,” he said. “Which company, CEO or family wouldn’t want that for their families and staff?”

“The fact that both the President of the US and the North Korean leaders have chosen Singapore also shows that it’s easily accessible,” he added. “If you think about why Singapore attracts so many global and regional HQs, it’s because the CEOs and decision-makers feel that it’s not only a good place for them, but safe and enjoyable for their families.”

“So it adds to the image that Singapore can not just attract tourists, but also the best of the international workforce.”

Mr Kemp noted that the summit would also position Singapore as having a “relatively inclusive” culture and society. “It’s really interesting that two countries that are, perhaps, at complete opposite ends of the spectrum around the world have chosen Singapore as the place where they both feel comfortable,” he said.

“I think that says a lot about what Singapore means to political leaders around the world.”

Mr Voedisch added that from a political standpoint, Singapore’s reputation as a “neutral and trustworthy” player on the international stage will also be enhanced. “Singapore can also play up the image of a positive peacemaker,” he said. “That’s an added value that can come out of that.”


The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) noted that as with all high-profile visits, the Trump-Kim summit “places Singapore on the map for international audiences”, and “showcases Singapore as an ideal destination, especially for businesses and meetings.”

And experts pointed out that this will benefit Sentosa in particular, which has largely been perceived and marketed largely as a tourist and leisure destination.

“Sentosa is a tropical island off a tropical island,” said Mr Voedisch. “So in terms of the images, you have the greenery, landscape, and maritime shots that add to the flavour of what it’s known for.”

“But it’s mainly known for being an entertainment and holiday destination for families, so the summit will help Sentosa to position itself as a great place to hold meetings and events.”

“From a security perspective, you can see why Sentosa is attractive for such meetings,” added Mr Kemp. “It’s much easier to manage a small place, and you could very easily cordon off the whole island.

“Besides that, the idea that there’s a very serious political conversation going to take place there also gives Sentosa the opportunity to show off a whole new element to its image.”

And while hotels involved in the summit – whether host hotel Capella, or the hotels the foreign delegations will be staying at – will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them, hospitality experts noted that they will experience “priceless benefits”.

“If you are good enough for the President of the United States, then you’re good enough for anyone,” said Kevin Wee, a senior lecturer in hospitality and tourism management at Nanyang Polytechnic.

“Let’s say security-conscious billionaires want to book entire floors for their entourage,” he explained. “They might say that if Capella or Shangri-La have met the President’s needs, they should be able to meet your needs.”

“This sort of branding is priceless, which is probably why they’re happy to go through all the work.”

“Imagine the President is making a speech at the podium, and it has your hotel name and logo, and the façade of your hotel is on all the news broadcasts around the world,” added Revi Nair, a senior lecturer in hospitality and tourism management from Temasek Polytechnic.

“The value of that kind of publicity can’t be measured.”

The opportunity of hosting such an event also gives hotels the chance to put their culinary and banqueting skills on full display, added Mr Nair.

“From choosing the local produce on the menu, to decorating the tables with subtle hints like an orchid here, or a Merlion would not pass up the chance to showcase Singapore and their hotel.”

Trump-Kim summit: Laksa and chicken rice on the menu for journalists, who can choose from 45 dishes from 15 cuisines
By Karamjit Kaur, Senior Aviation Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 10 Jun 2018

Journalists covering the historic summit between the United States and North Korea will have no lack of food, with a lunch and dinner menu that will offer 45 dishes across 15 cuisines to suit all palates.

These will include popular Singapore dishes like laksa and chicken rice, as well as Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, French, American and Middle Eastern food, said Sats, which will provide the lunches and dinners.

Other caterers include Ya Kun Kaya Toast, The Common Good Company and Paris Baguette.

Together, they are sponsoring the food for more than 2,500 journalists expected to throng the F1 Pit Building, the official media centre for the summit.

Sats alone expects to serve more than 7.2 tonnes of food - or 7,000 meals.

The Common Good Company - a consortium of Singaporean food and food-related brands like Udders Ice Cream and The Soup Spoon - will serve up $60,000 worth of food covering 23 different products including kimchi jiggae soup and an emergency ration box with cakes and cookies.

Director Wong Peck Lin said: "In the midst of intense deadlines, there's no reason why harried reporters can't have a taste of Singaporean food and other unique foods."

Meanwhile, Korean bakery chain Paris Baguette has also asked to feed journalists at the media centre, after having done the same at the inter-Korean summit in April.

Sats president and chief executive officer Alex Hungate said: "It's always good to keep the journalists happy with a delicious meal."

Singapore plays host to Trump-Kim summit: Keeping an eye on the ball
Little time, no rest as Singapore gears up for summit
By Karamjit Kaur, Senior Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times, 11 Jun 2018

When US President Donald Trump confirmed in the early morning of June 2 (Singapore time) that the on-again, off-again summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would go ahead as planned, many involved in helping to facilitate the summit heaved a sigh of relief.

On one hand, they knew that life for the next two weeks would be turned upside down.

But on the other hand, the thousands of hours devoted to preparing for the hosting of such a high-profile meeting would not have gone to waste.

Singapore had been linked as a possible host for the June 12 meeting as early as March. Even before Mr Trump first confirmed the Republic as the host on May 10, the Singapore government machinery had already rolled into action.

An inter-agency task force was put together, comprising senior foreign affairs and home affairs officials, as well as representatives from agencies including the Ministry of Defence, the Transport Ministry and the Ministry of Health.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam told the media last Friday that Singapore had to grapple with significant security and logistical challenges to host Mr Trump and Mr Kim, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission.

"We are talking about two weeks. It usually takes months to prepare for something like this," he said.

Sources told The Straits Times that even when Mr Trump called off the summit on May 24, preparations still continued.

Given the uncertainty over the summit, much of the work took place behind closed doors.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) building in Sherwood Road, teams were put in place to facilitate planning and negotiations between the United States and North Korea.

Singapore had also hosted the landmark 2015 summit between China's President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's then President Ma Ying-jeou, and the expectation was for Singapore's Foreign Service to draw from that experience.

MFA officials assisted the advance teams of both countries when Mr Kim Chang Son, the de facto chief of staff of Mr Kim, had pre-summit meetings with White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin to iron out the logistical details of the visit two weeks ago.

Shortly after the meeting, which took place alongside others in New York and North Korea involving key officials of both nations, the summit was resurrected.

Said a senior public servant who declined to be named: "Down the ranks, thousands of civil servants have been sitting in daily meetings and briefings to iron out all kinds of details, including protocol, ground security, air movements, road closures and emergency procedures, should any hiccups occur."

The international media will be focusing the world's attention on Singapore. And while they will capture every smile and handshake that the two leaders will exchange, any security issues will also make headlines.

Between the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), there will be thousands of boots on the ground providing security and traffic control operations.

There will also be security personnel looking to ensure the safety of the two leaders in the air and around the waters off Sentosa, which will host the summit.

But planning was challenging, with the meeting venue not decided until about a week before the summit, sources say.

While the Capella Singapore hotel in Sentosa will provide a scenic setting for the meeting, experts cautioned that protecting it will require more security resources than if the event was held at the Shangri-La, the other venue contender.

With more than 50,000 tourists and local residents in Sentosa on an average day - the number is significantly higher during the June school holidays - screening those entering the island is also going to be a challenge, they added.

Then there are preparations ensuring the two leaders' safety as they make their way to Sentosa.

Arrangements have been made to make Mr Trump's journey from Shangri-La Hotel to Sentosa seamless. Likewise for Mr Kim, who will depart from The St Regis Singapore.

Apart from routes being kept a secret, overhead bridges will also be locked down as the respective convoys make their way across the city.

To ensure there is enough manpower for such a massive operation, police officers were told weeks earlier that all leave would be frozen during the visit period. Operationally ready national servicemen were alerted to be on standby.

In 2006, when the police staged a large-scale security operation during the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meetings here, regular and auxiliary police officers, along with some 23,000 national servicemen, were deployed.

Security then was beefed up by SAF personnel, as well as officers from the Gurkha Contingent and Volunteer Special Constabulary.

With the global media focused on the June 12 summit, the Ministry of Communications and Information also had its hands full, processing pass applications from thousands of local and international journalists.

More than 2,500 journalists expected to cover the summit have been working since June 10 from the F1 Pit Building, where an International Media Centre has been set up. Even before that, members of the foreign media had started arriving. Some came as early as two weeks before the summit, when the American and North Korean advance parties arrived.

On the commercial front, staff at Singapore's top hotels have also been in overdrive the last few weeks, first scrambling to block rooms, releasing some after the meeting was declared cancelled, only to reclaim them to cater to the delegations of both nations, as well as the growing list of media representatives.

Apart from the Capella, Shangri-La, St Regis and Fullerton, identified as places to house the delegations, other hotels in the Marina Bay and Orchard Road areas were kept busy handling queries on room availability from the foreign media.

Food and beverage outlets across Singapore are also rolling out themed meals and drinks with American and Korean influences.

At the Singapore Flyer, several businesses that have extended their hours and increased staff strength are also offering promotions for the public and members of the media. Gourmet burger restaurant Wolf Burgers has introduced a "Burger for World Peace" - a riff on the American Philly cheesesteak with a Korean touch. At the Royal Plaza on Scotts, free Trump-Kim burgers will be given out at noon and 6pm on the day of the summit.

The meeting has also attracted Trump and Kim impersonators to Singapore, some of whom even engaged media agencies to plan their public interactions.

Despite the short runway for preparing for the summit, Dr Bilveer Singh, adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, has no doubt that Singapore will hold its own.

He said: "We are an event state - 365 days a year, event after event, big and small. So while the short runway is unprecedented, the Singapore government machinery is always well prepared and ready for all systems go. I have no doubt that Singapore will more than rise to the challenge of hosting this historic summit."

Singapore may have gained over $700 million in exposure as host of Trump-Kim summit: Analyst Meltwater
By Rachel Au-Yong, Housing Correspondent, The Straits Times, 14 Jun 2018

While pundits debate whether the meeting was a success, Singapore itself may have gained more than $700 million in exposure by hosting the historic Trump-Kim summit, according to a media intelligence analyst.

It estimates the Republic reaped a 38-fold return, thanks to tourism, retail and media exposure.

Singapore spent about $20 million in total, of which half went to security costs. It is understood that less than $5 million went to media costs, including the international media centre, for some 2,500 journalists. The Government did not elaborate on other expenses.

But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's tour of the Marina Bay area made the front pages of many newspapers, and the Singapore skyline appeared on many news bulletins, including that of late-night talkshow host Trevor Noah.

Media intelligence firm Meltwater estimates that the advertising value, based on global online media mentions over the three days the leaders were here, added up to $270 million. But take into consideration the buzz generated since last month, and advertising value balloons to about $767 million, it said.

The number would likely have been higher if the expected value of print, broadcast or social media mentions was also tracked.

While different firms use different formulas to calculate the estimated media value, Meltwater said it arrived at its estimates by multiplying the number of people it reached by 0.025, which is the probability that someone will read an article, and then by 37 cents, which is the industry formula for the monetary value of someone reading an article.

The hotels, in particular, gained the most from the attention. About half of online articles, or over 20,000, mentioned the Capella, where the one-day summit between United States President Donald Trump and Mr Kim was held. The hotels where Mr Trump and Mr Kim stayed in - Shangri-La and The St Regis, respectively - had a mention in a fifth of the articles each.

Media monitoring firm Isentia said it was also meaningful to analyse the sentiments of such coverage, estimating that 69 per cent of the buzz generated by the summit was positive, compared with 24 per cent which was neutral and 7 per cent that was negative.

Besides the media exposure, Singapore can expect at least $7.2 million from the three days based on tourism receipts, said Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer Michael Chiam. He arrived at this figure from the roughly 4,000 journalists and security personnel spending an average of $600 a day, including their accommodation, which would have formed the bulk of the costs.

However, this short-term gain might be counterbalanced by visitors who stayed away because of the summit, said Singapore Polytechnic retail and marketing lecturer Lucas Tok.

In fact, increased security measures on Sentosa and in Orchard may have deterred some shoppers, local and tourist, he said.

However, all analysts pointed towards benefits that would be reaped further down the road.

"Where is Singapore?" became one of the most-asked questions on Google and indicated an increased awareness of the country, they said.

Mr Tok said: "Usually, after a place has received some traction, visitor numbers tend to go up in the next few months."

Mr Nicholas Fang, director of security and global affairs at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the summit boosted Singapore's branding in a global competitive environment.

"The fact that a small country like Singapore could be the focal point of global attention for so many days will do no harm to the Singapore brand, and there will be flow-down benefits to Singapore companies and individuals on the international stage," he said.

Additional reporting by Seow Bei Yi

North Korean TV broadcast hails Kim Jong Un as 'world leader'
The Straits Times, 15 Jun 2018

SEOUL • North Korean state television yesterday aired footage of Mr Kim Jong Un's historic summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore, with the report describing Mr Kim as a "prominent world leader" who is revered universally.

The 40-minute broadcast by Korean Central Television seized the chance to heap praise on the North Korean leader, showing footage of his night-time stroll on the Singapore waterfront and saying he was welcomed with "deep respect and boundless enthusiasm".

"The streets were crowded with well-wishers who were full of reverence for Chairman Kim, who has come to lead world politics with his extraordinary political acumen," the female voiceover said.

Mr Kim was "warmly welcomed" by crowds "wherever he appeared", according to the voiceover, as the footage cut to a scene of him strolling through Gardens by the Bay accompanied by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, as crowds strained to take pictures.

"The meeting of the century awaited by the whole world finally took place" on Tuesday, the voiceover said to shots of Mr Kim's motorcade en route to the summit. The footage showcased scenes spanning the hugely anticipated day, including Mr Kim and Mr Trump's first handshake in front of their national flags.

The broadcast also showed the pair sitting down for talks, sharing a working lunch, signing a joint statement and Mr Trump showing Mr Kim his armoured limousine, nicknamed "the Beast". "President Trump showed Chairman Kim his 'Beast' and expressed respect and endless admiration for Chairman Kim," it said.

The video ended with Mr Kim returning home to a red carpet hero's welcome, with honour guards and crowds of hysterical well-wishers. "The whole country heartily welcomed home the prominent world leader, revered by all the people under the heaven," it concluded.

The propaganda push not only signalled Mr Kim's new confidence on the world stage after a series of diplomatic wins, but it also conveyed a desire for greater openness and economic development.

"It is like openly declaring he is the leader of a normal state, and he has got the confidence to do so," said Dr Ahn Chan Il, who defected from North Korea in 1979 and is now head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies.

"It doesn't only herald Kim's decision to open up the economy, but also his determination that he, from now on, will let everyone know his whereabouts without feeling too worried of his safety."


Analysts: Singapore can benefit if North Korea opens up
By Karamjit Kaur, Senior Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times, 15 Jun 2018

Singapore has much to offer and gain, if an agreement signed between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday leads to new economic opportunities in North Korea.

For decades, the country has been isolated on the international stage for its appalling human rights record and relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.

If this changes, Singapore, with its pro-business and neutral political stance - a key reason why the Republic was picked to host the historic meeting - is well placed to move in, political and economic observers told The Straits Times.

Professor Liu Hong, chair of the School of Social Sciences and director, Nanyang Centre for Public Administration at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), said: "Mr Kim Jong Un was very impressed by Singapore's high level of economic prosperity and urban development, and he has indicated that his country is keen to learn from Singapore in multiple areas.

"I am sure that he is grateful to Singapore for its instrumental role in facilitating the summit. This is an additional reason for Singapore to capitalise its first-mover advantage."

From industrial parks to other major infrastructure developments, aviation to tourism, there is tremendous potential for foreign investments - including from Singapore - to flow in, observers said.

"When Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in 1978, he was deeply impressed by Singapore's remarkable socio-economic accomplishments, which became a major reason for China's learning from Singapore and the nation's 'Singapore Fever'," said Prof Liu Hong.

Said Associate Professor Alan Chong of NTU's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies: "In 10 years, we could see in North Korea what Singapore has done in China, with the Suzhou Industrial Park."

The park - about a third of Singapore's size - which opened more than 20 years ago, was jointly planned and developed by the two countries.

Singapore has also played a similar and key role in Vietnam's recent economic developments, he added.

Associate Professor Nitin Pangarkar of the National University of Singapore Business School said that Singapore's own experience, of going through the whole cycle of development within a short period of time, could prove valuable to North Korea.

Ms Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Singapore-based transport research firm Crucial Perspective, said that any opening up of North Korea could provide opportunities for Singapore transport and logistics firms such as ST Engineering, Sembcorp Industries, Changi Airport International, PSA International and Sats to help developthe rail, infrastructure, utilities, marine and aviation sectors in the country.

And while very little is known about the secretive state, North Korea is believed to be sitting on mineral resources estimated to be worth at least US$6 trillion (S$8 trillion), according to online news website Quartz.

These comprise a vast array of mineral resources which remain largely untapped, including iron, gold, magnesite, zinc, copper, limestone and molybdenum.

Moving into North Korea will not be risk-free, though, experts warned.

Ms Png said: "The key risk would be political uncertainty and the regulatory environment. Businesses have a long-term investment horizon and will need greater assurance on the geopolitical situation before they are willing to venture into North Korea."

Assoc Prof Nitin said: "A selective approach would be good, versus a very ambitious one that attempts to do everything and compete in all sectors."

For now, though, the trade sanctions will remain in place,said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Speaking to Singapore media on Wednesday at the end of a six-day visit to Tokyo, he said: "The agreement is that the sanctions will not be lifted immediately."

Hotels reveal what went on behind the summit

No detail too small to ensure smooth Trump-Kim summit
For three weeks, Capella staff laboured to get hotel in top shape for Trump-Kim meeting
By Tiffany Fumiko Tay, The Straits Times, 14 Jun 2018

From table flower arrangements to the titles on the bookshelf that served as a backdrop for the first tete-a-tete between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, no detail was too small for the team at Capella Singapore when it came to ensuring the historic meeting would go smoothly - at least on its end.

The hotel played host to what many have dubbed the "meeting of the century" on Tuesday, and what made an already challenging task even more difficult was that the hotel was given only about three weeks for an event that would normally take months of preparations.

Among the concerns the hotel had was making sure that every aspect of the summit - all housed in the two restored colonial buildings that greet visitors to the Sentosa hotel - was carefully curated to reflect neutrality, the hotel's creative style director Dora Wong told The Straits Times.

After their courtyard handshake that drew the world's attention, Mr Trump and Mr Kim, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, retreated to the hotel's library for their first one-on-one meeting.

The curated book selection on the bookshelf behind the men featured mainly Singapore-related titles, including founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's Hard Truths and books on the Republic's history and food.

The colour scheme for the flower arrangements adorning the meeting spaces and dining room was among three proposed to the White House, which ultimately selected green and white for their neutral tone, said Ms Wong.

Flowers picked included cymbidium orchids, parrot tulips and snapdragons, which sat in one arrangement on an 80-year-old teak table loaned from the National Gallery Singapore, at which Mr Trump and Mr Kim signed their agreement on Tuesday.

"We wanted to include Singapore in the decor but it was important to keep things neutral... the White House was very happy with how it turned out," said Ms Wong.

For the lunch, which fed 16, including delegations from both the US and North Korea, the hotel's director of culinary David Senia settled on a combination of East meets West - prawn cocktail, Korean stuffed cucumber, beef short rib confit and sweet-and-sour pork.

"We based the menu on the guests' preferences and tried to please both sides - since we also didn't know if the talks would take five minutes or hours, we also had to have something that could last and not get spoilt," said Mr Senia.

The main course of short rib confit was chosen as it is tender without having to cater to differing preferences for meat doneness.

"There was a lot of pressure - I couldn't sleep the night before because I kept thinking about the recipes, but the pressure is good for cooking," he said.

June 11 was also a sleepless night for Capella's general manager Fernando Gibaja. Preparations the night before the summit lasted until nearly 3am, with a staff call time just two hours later.

He set three alarms before going to bed, just in case. "You could feel the energy on the day... the landscaping people blowing away the leaves at 5 o'clock in the morning, the kitchen serving breakfast from 4am - it was not a normal day, we did a crazy schedule."

For security reasons, the hotel could count only on a lean team of about 70 - down from the usual 250 - on the day of the summit, and just eight staff members had full access to the hotel. Mr Gibaja doubled as housekeeping and picked up a vacuum cleaner to ensure that the hotel was in top shape.

By 8am, an hour before Mr Trump and Mr Kim were due to arrive, Mr Gibaja along with the rest of Capella's staff cleared out and went to the staff canteen, where they watched the handshake on television over breakfast.

Not long after, requests began to come in from both delegations that needed attending to. "It was non-stop after that, no one had 10 minutes to rest. But once it started, I could feel the pressure was gone because we had done everything we could do," he said.

Mr Gibaja, who has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, marked his first year at the hotel on the day of the summit.

He became teary-eyed describing the work that his team put in in the days leading up to the event.

"When you walk through the corridors and you see the people cleaning, on the floor scrubbing to ensure every tile is impeccable - I feel so proud of my colleagues, who played a part in making history. From painting the facade to maintaining security 24 hours, there was a lot of work behind the scenes that had to be done."

To prepare for the big day, the hotel stopped accepting bookings from June 7. Arrangements had to be made for those with room reservations within the period of the summit to stay elsewhere.

But it will be back to business as usual from Saturday. And demand has been high, with the hotel almost sold out for the day. Requests have also been pouring in for the same lunch menu that Mr Trump and Mr Kim dined on, which the hotel will try to accommodate, he said.

He added: "I think we will expect more people to come to the hotel who want to see where they shook hands and signed the agreement. But this has also showcased Singapore's security and how well organised everything is."

There is always another event to prepare for in the fast-paced world of hospitality, and by the end of yesterday, all traces of the summit and the work that went into it were gone.

All hands on deck at hotels where leaders stayed in luxury suites
By Tiffany Fumiko Tay, The Straits Times, 14 Jun 2018

Both men stayed in the most luxurious top-floor suites in five-star hotels just a 10-minute walk apart. But it seems that was where the similarities ended for US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's brief stay in Singapore.

While Mr Kim chose to tour some of the Republic's attractions on Monday night a day after arriving, Mr Trump stayed in his hotel in Orange Grove Road.

Over his two nights at the Shangri-La Hotel, President Trump dined on dishes prepared by the hotel's executive chef Franco Brodini, a spokesman told The Straits Times. For the visiting US delegation, the Origin Grill at Shangri-La also created a Hawaiian burger which has been put on its permanent menu.

Meanwhile, Mr Kim, who stayed at The St Regis Singapore, had included his personal chef in the delegation that arrived with him, sources said.

Shangri-La was given about a month's notice that it might host the US for the planned summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, general manager Bipan Kapur told ST. In what he called the hotel's biggest operation to date, it was all hands on deck for its 950 staff.

Another 20 employees from the Shangri-La hotels in the region and senior management from the corporate office in Hong Kong flew in to lend their expertise. "Shangri-La has experience hosting dignitaries and high-level events which helped us to pull this off, but we had a very short time - normally we would need about six months to prepare for something like this," he said.

Preparations included logistical planning of function spaces and guestrooms, ordering additional food and beefing up security. These continued even after the summit was initially called off on May 24.

The Valley Wing's 17th-floor Shangri-La Suite, where Mr Trump stayed for two nights, has its own lift and private entrance, and a dedicated butler service. The 348 sq m suite has two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a private workout room, study, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Head butler Hussain Khan, who was on call for up to 20 hours a day during the US delegation's stay, said it was hectic but all in a day's work: "A week before, we had to prepare the menus and other requests, but every section worked together to make sure things went smoothly."

St Regis' Presidential Suite, where Mr Kim is said to have stayed, features a jacuzzi, dining room and gym, among other amenities. St Regis declined to comment.

Trump-Kim summit: K. Shanmugam, Ng Eng Hen thank security and military forces
By Tham Yuen-C, Senior Political Correspondent, The Straits Times, 12 Jun 2018

At the close of the historic summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday (June 12), Singapore's ministers thanked officers from the security agencies and armed forces for their work in ensuring the event went smoothly.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, in a Facebook post, said Home Team officers had made a tremendous effort to ensure security was good.

He highlighted, in particular, the sacrifices of Muslim officers, who had to handle the demands of the summit while fasting, saying it was "extra difficult for them".

"Salute to all our officers," he added.

The Home Team had deployed 5,000 of its officers for the summit, which came to a close on Tuesday afternoon with Mr Kim, who is Chairman of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, giving his "unwavering commitment" to work towards denuclearisation.

They included outriders for the motorcades of the two leaders, and police officers patrolling the areas around Shangri-la Hotel and The St Regis Singapore where both leaders were staying.

Separately, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post that he was proud of the professionalism of the Singapore Armed Forces in ensuring security in the air, land and sea.

"It was 'no duff' because the threats were real - not made easier when the time and place of the summit was broadcast to the world. It should be known to Singaporeans that our SAF troops and platforms were loaded with live ammunition, ready to take out any external threats," he said, using an army term that means an incident was not a drill or training exercise.

"The successful completion of this mission gives confidence that we can protect Singapore, even at short notice," he added.

Among the assets deployed by the SAF were helicopters and ships conducting aerial and maritime patrols around Sentosa as Mr Trump and Mr Kim met on Tuesday at the Capella Singapore hotel.

Said Dr Ng of the summit: "It will be a long road ahead from armistice to peace treaty but at least amity has begun. Singapore has played a small but important role for peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, and indeed that of Asia."

His sentiment was shared by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who returned to Singapore on Tuesday from a three-day visit to Japan.

He said on Facebook: "Back to Singapore and visited the Event Command Post as President Trump and Chairman Kim were proceeding for their Summit. Thanks to Singaporeans, public officers, media representatives and our overseas guests who have been working on the summit preparations for the past few weeks.

" Hope this will be a step towards greater peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula."

While the world watched closely the meeting between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, thousands of police officers worked behind the scenes to ensure the summit on June 12 at the Capella Singapore went off without a hitch.

Motorcade commanders for US and North Korea delegations always prepared for next journey
By Tan Tam Mei, The Straits Times, 15 Jun 2018

As soon as the United States and North Korean leaders reached the Capella Singapore for the June 12 summit, motorcade commanders Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Sherrin Chua and DAC Evon Ng started getting ready for the departure later in the day.

It was just one sign of the intense attention to detail the two police officers,who each led a 60-vehicle convoy for the delegations, brought to bear on the historic event.

That meant taking charge of planning and carrying out security protection for both leaders on the road while also working closely with their American and North Korea security counterparts.

"We always have to think of what's next and consider the possible scenarios to get the convoy ready in the fastest possible time. So as soon as they reach their destination, we're already planning for their departure," said DAC Chua, 41, deputy director of police's planning and organisation department, who led the convoy for US President Donald Trump.

DAC Ng, 45, who led the motorcade for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, added: "Our focus was to ensure that the principals (Mr Trump and Mr Kim) reached each destination safely, securely and in time.

"Throughout the journey, we have to keep watch on all fronts and also report back to the command post to keep them informed about what was happening within the convoy."

Each delegation's motorcade comprised four "waves", said DAC Ng, who is deputy commander of the police's public transport security command.

The first was the advance party, which included officers from the police and other government agencies. It looked for obstructions on the road like fallen tree branches, oil spills and stationary vehicles.

The second wave was the clearance team while advance traffic police riders made up the third. Both groups also checked that roads were clear of debris and pedestrians.

Then came the main convoys themselves, each made up of about 40 vehicles and led by a traffic police officer on a motorbike. The motorcade commanders were seated in the second cars of the convoys together with liaison officers from various government departments to ensure that the vehicles were coordinated and stayed close together.

While each journey for the US and North Korean delegations did not last more than 20 minutes as the roads had been cleared, the preparations took at least two hours, said DAC Ng.

One factor that had to be considered was the length of the limousines that Mr Kim and Mr Trump rode in, which were longer than normal cars. There was also the concern that some of the vehicles brought in by the delegations were left-hand-drive models.

"During planning we needed to make sure the pace we went at facilitated the long convoy movements," said DAC Ng, who added that another challenge she faced was the language barrier between her and her North Korean counterparts.

"When one point is being put across, it takes two conversations, between me and the interpreter and interpreter with the counterpart, and vice versa," she added.

DAC Ng also noted that she was a bit apprehensive during the first meeting with the North Korean head of security as she was unsure about how they would take to a female officer leading Mr Kim's motorcade security.

"(But) he listened to me very attentively. I was able to clearly convey to him our plans and I believe I got his trust. When the operations rolled out it was pretty smooth."

Her only regret was not being able to bid a proper farewell to the North Korean security team after working closely with them for the summit. "That was the part where I felt incomplete. It's a pity that we just parted without saying goodbye."

Securing a luxury hotel for the world's most protected leaders
Securing waters, communicating in Korean among the challenges
By Tan Tam Mei, The Straits Times, 15 Jun 2018

With its sprawling gardens, cascading outdoor pools and open sea views, the Capella Singapore hotel fits the bill as a great holiday resort.

But for the meeting to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea,police officers from the Clementi police division, together with their security counterparts from the United States and North Korea, had just three weeks to lock down the resort and turn it into a tightly-secured venue.

"It was the first high-level security event in Sentosa," said Assistant Commissioner (AC) Jarrod Pereira, who led police operations at the luxury hotel for the summit. "And the summit involved two of the world's most protected leaders."

AC Pereira, 49, who is commander of Clementi police division, has been with the Singapore Police Force for 21 years and was previously the police's deputy director of operations.

He said: "Every venue can be secured. Different venues have different vulnerabilities, and there will be different measures in place to secure it."

He shared that the hotel's secluded location was advantageous, as was the fact that there was essentially only one way in and out of the island by land.

Sentosa and the Tanglin area were gazetted as "special event areas" for the summit and access was controlled. Security was even tighter around the "special zones" - at the Shangri-La Hotel, where President Trump stayed, and The St Regis Singapore, where Mr Kim, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, stayed.

The Capella was similarly located in a "special zone" and even waters off the south-west beaches, near the hotel, came under the "special event area" boundaries.

For the police, it was one of the first times they had to plan for potential maritime incursions, for a summit of this scale.

"The vulnerability from sea was quite new," said AC Pereira. "So we had to plan to cover all sorts of angles."

Nothing was left to chance. Police littered the 12ha lush vegetation around Capella with security and thermal cameras, said AC Pereira.

He added in the week leading up to the summit, officers sometimes spent up to 18 hours a day doing recces and preparatory works.

The timing of the summit also coincided with the June school holidays and the month of Ramadan. Arrangements were made to accommodate these factors, said AC Pereira.

Some officers voluntarily cancelled their leave, and provisions were also made for officers who were fasting to be put on specific shifts.

In a Facebook post at the conclusion of the summit, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam highlighted the sacrifices of Muslim officers, who had to handle the demands of the summit while fasting, saying it was "extra difficult for them".

AC Pereira's division had also just completed their deployment at the three-day Shangri-La Dialogue security conference, which was attended by political leaders and defence chiefs from June 1.

"Many of the officers volunteered to come back. I believe many of them saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and felt proud to be part of the summit," said AC Pereira.

Besides the long hours, there were also some challenges in communicating with the North Korean security delegation, but the division managed to find some police officers who speak Korean to act as interpreters, added AC Pereira.

"At first we didn't know what to expect from the North Korean side, as they have probably had less experience in dealing with such combined security efforts... But I have to say they were very professional," he said.

Singapore firms took on security, logistics challenge for summit
By Deepanraj Ganesan, The Straits Times, 16 Jun 2018

While the Singapore Police Force (SPF) may have been the face of security operations when the leaders of the United States and North Korea were in town for Tuesday's historic summit, local firms working behind the scenes were also integral to ensuring everything ran smoothly.

Two of them were Oneberry Technologies and S-Lite Event Support.

"The big difficulty was in not knowing whether (the summit) was on or off," Oneberry Technologies chief executive Ken Pereira said, referring to US President Donald Trump calling off the meeting on May 24, only to say a week later that it was on again.

"But we were always prepared, and the moment we were told it was going ahead for sure, we sprang into action," he said of his firm, which is a leader in remote surveillance solutions in Singapore.

The firm took just two days to deploy its Oneberry Mobi-cams at 12 different sites for the summit and also set up several command centres for the SPF. Thermal cameras mounted on the Mobi devices were used for the first time.

"If you look at Capella hotel, there are a lot of bushes and trees there, so a normal camera would not be as useful as the thermal one," said Mr Pereira, whose company was involved in security operations at the previous two National Day parades.

"Even a cat or rat passing through can be picked up because the camera captures heat signature even in pitch-dark conditions."

S-Lite Event Support, which provides logistics and set-up services, was involved in setting up yellow metal barricades at various places, including the exterior of Shangri-La and The St Regis Singapore hotels, where Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stayed respectively. The firm's operations director Vernon Ang said about 4,000 barricades were put up for the summit.

The timeline, similarly, posed a major challenge for Mr Ang and his team. "The security and secrecy of this whole event were tighter than anything we have worked on before, so we were notified of the job outside the hotel only a day before the deployment," he said.

For some deployments, the family-run firm was given only a few hours' notice. One example was Mr Kim's mini-tour of Singapore on Monday night. He visited Gardens by the Bay and the observation deck of the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, and took a stroll on Jubilee Bridge.

"I think it was quite impromptu and once (Mr Kim's) head of security informed SPF of their plans, SPF activated us and we went on a quick walk-through of the area with the police staff and then deployed our barricades," said Mr Ang.

"The last-minute deployment was definitely challenging, but we experienced a similar one during our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's memorial service in March 2015, so we were able to manage it."

Both Mr Ang and Mr Pereira were proud of their companies' involvement in the historic event.

"This is not just about revenue but a chance to be part of a high-profile event that contributes to world peace. We are definitely very happy we got to play a role," Mr Ang said.

"You can say that this was like national service for us," Mr Pereira quipped. He added: "This was a great test of our capabilities and at the end of the event, we got two thumbs-up from the police so that made us feel very satisfied."

Singapore the summit host: A small country with big ambitions
By Zhao Lingmin, Published The Straits Times, 16 Jun 2018

That Singapore held off strong competition to host the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is evidence of its rising international influence, while its ability to organise the event without a hitch highlights the efficiency the country has always been proud of.

Whatever the outcome, Singapore has come out the winner. From the Wang-Koo summit in 1993 to the Xi-Ma meeting in 2015, to this year's Trump-Kim summit, Singapore has played host to several historic events.

If the impact of the first two meetings was limited to East Asia, the Trump-Kim summit was one of global magnitude. To be chosen by both the United States and North Korea shows that Singapore's influence is one that extends beyond Asia. Considering that Singapore is a small country only one-tenth the size of Guangzhou with a population of just 5.6 million, this is an impressive achievement.

One key reason the Trump-Kim summit could be held in Singapore is that both the US and North Korea have embassies there, which cannot be said of many countries. While North Korea has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries, it has embassies and consulates in only about 40. This is because years of international sanctions have meant that North Korea has limited funds, to the extent that its foreign missions serve not only diplomatic functions, but also as a means of generating revenue, with its premises let out for commercial activities.

Singapore's location and status as an Asia-Pacific trade and financial centre are also very attractive to North Korea. As far back as May 1967, North Korea and Singapore had a trade office. This was "upgraded" to diplomatic relations in November 1969, 21 years before diplomatic ties between China and Singapore were established.

Currently, Singapore citizens can travel to North Korea visa-free for 30 days. Politically, Singapore maintains good ties with North Korea. In 2016, Singapore was North Korea's eighth-largest trade partner; however, economic and trade ties were curtailed in November last year under the pressure of United Nations sanctions.

The mutually beneficial relationship between Singapore, with its strategic location, and the US as a superpower needs little elaboration. Under an agreement signed in 2000, Singapore's Changi Naval Base provides logistical support for US Navy vessels, greatly expanding the reach of its 7th Fleet.


One important principle of Singapore's foreign policy is to be a friend to all and an enemy of none. This is realised not through currying favours or sacrificing its own principles, but through nudging the other party such that it will act in Singapore's favour.

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger once noted that the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew had never bowed down to get what he wanted. In their many discussions in the past, Mr Lee never asked him for anything for Singapore, he recalled. What Mr Lee did was to explain Singapore's importance in the international system, in the belief that smart people would naturally come to their own conclusion to invest in Singapore and help it grow.

At the same time, Singapore is not afraid to confront big powers on issues concerning its key interests. On the matter of differences between China and Singapore over the South China Sea arbitration ruling in 2016, the Chinese generally did not accept Singapore's reason that it was "upholding international law and freedom of navigation", and labelled the country as "anti-China". However, in the recent trade dispute between China and the US, Singapore supported China's stand on free trade.

To many, Singapore may appear to have reversed its position on China, but in Singapore's view, it has been consistent in upholding international law, navigational freedom and free trade; as a small island state, it cannot survive without any of these. Clearly, any decision by Singapore is based on its own interests, deliberated on a case-by-case basis and never broadly "anti-China" or "pro-China".

For any two countries to be close, their interests must dovetail. One would be naive or overbearing to demand other countries to forgo their interests for one's own.

China is a big country with a longstanding concept of "tianxia" (literally "all under heaven", a traditional Chinese concept of world governance). Many ordinary Chinese citizens have a keen interest in international affairs, while the Chinese government also encourages such interest. But many small countries are mainly concerned about themselves and their region, and are not as interested in what is happening on the bigger global stage.


With its small size and population, Singapore is a "small nation" in every sense of the word, but its vision, ambition and interests are definitely world-class. From the days of Mr Lee, Singapore leaders have spoken out on major issues such as globalisation, China-US ties and China-India relations.

It was Mr Lee who started this tradition. He was not afraid to say what he thought, even if his views - such as those on the shortcomings of democratic institutions drawn up by the West for its former colonies - came across as politically incorrect.

When asked if Chinese leaders were ready for China to supplant the US as the leading power in Asia and even the world, Mr Lee did not hesitate in saying yes. China had the potential to become a superpower and the sense of mission in China's renaissance was strong, he noted. It also wanted the world to accept it for what it was, not as a subsidiary of the West.

Singapore's international influence can be traced to Mr Lee and the views he articulated on world affairs. Dr Kissinger described him as "an indispensable friend of the United States, not primarily by the power he represents, but by the excellence of his thinking. His analysis is of such quality and depth that his counterparts consider meeting with him as a way to educate themselves".

Mr Lee's successors, Mr Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Hsien Loong, have continued the tradition of speaking out on matters of global import. This can be seen as an important means by which Singapore keeps up its international profile, giving it the edge in hosting the Trump-Kim summit.

To be sure, commenting on other countries' affairs comes with a price; the dispute between China and Singapore over the South China Sea arbitration issue being a case in point. Mr Lee Hsien Loong's comment that the tribunal had made a "strong statement" in its ruling angered the Chinese government and its people. Against this tense backdrop, in November 2016, nine Singapore Terrex vehicles that were on their way back to Singapore after an exercise in Taiwan were seized by Hong Kong Customs. Singapore clearly was not mentally prepared for this turn of events and there were even calls for self-reflection.

In fact, on a visit to the US in July 2016, Mr Lee Hsien Loong had expressed his unhappiness with the US for not signing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, but many Chinese did not know about this or chose to ignore it, while the seemingly less sensitive Americans just did not engage Singapore on it.

Hosting the Trump-Kim summit is a result of Singapore's years of hard work on its hard and soft power, paving the way for more international summits to be held there in the future, which will increase its influence on the international stage.

Still, the key to this happening is whether Singapore can continue to maintain its high standards in the long run. Its economic development and internal governance have to be way better than its neighbours', and there should be no major misjudgment on global affairs, which is especially important as Singapore faces a leadership transition.

This article by Zhao Lingmin, a columnist with the Financial Times, is an edited version of the original commentary first published on June 12 in FT's Chinese edition. The views are the writer's own.

Trump-Kim summit: The making of a last-minute meeting in Singapore
Two unpredictable protagonists, a short lead time and the sensitive nature of the summit. Setting up the rendezvous between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was no simple feat. Tham Yuen-C, Seow Bei Yi and Ng Jun Sen look at what went into planning and hosting the history-making moment.
By Tham Yuen-C, Senior Political Correspondent, Seow Bei Yi and Ng Jun Sen, Political Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 17 Jun 2018

It is Tuesday night, and immigration officials and airport staff are preparing for the impending departure of one VIP - with two red carpets.

Four passenger jets sit on the tarmac at Changi Airport's VIP complex: two Air China Boeing 747s and two Air Koryo Ilyushins.

No one knows which plane North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would take to go home. No one knows what time he would leave.

Eventually, the Singapore staff make a calculated guess, unfurl two red carpets, each leading to one Air China plane - and pray that he is taking either one of them.

"We just had to hope and pray that he was not going to go on the other planes. It's a very sensitive thing, and these red-carpeted boarding steps cannot be easily moved," says Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Inspector Reshma Nair, 33.

In the end, to their relief, Mr Kim did take one of the two, finally leaving Singapore at around 11.30pm.

Such was the secrecy of the visiting North Korean delegation, a factor that generated a fair bit of last-minute scrambling in what is usually a thoroughly choreographed political affair.

While Singapore is an old hand at hosting high-level summits, the June 12 meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Mr Kim was unparalleled in the level of challenges it posed.

Besides the unknown and unpredictable North Korean factor, there was the compressed timeframe for preparations and the sensitive nature of the meeting.

In the end, the Republic managed to pull it off, though not without some near heart attacks away from the international media's glare, officials involved say.

How did they do it?

Insight pieces it together.


The Cabinet first had an inkling that Singapore could be asked to host the summit in early May, when US officials first broached the possibility.

But it was "without any clarification and certainty, and you know we can't go on the basis of possibilities", says Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam in an interview.

At the same time, countries from Mongolia to Switzerland were being thrown up as possible locations.

Then, on May 10, Mr Trump tweeted that the summit would be held in Singapore on June 12.

But just as abruptly as this was announced, the meeting was cancelled on May 24, only to be reinstated two days later.

By then, Singapore had been formally approached to host it, but because of the on-off-on plans, "we unscrambled everything, then we had to scramble again", says Mr Shanmugam.

The matter was discussed at the Cabinet level. "We agreed that we should host. The considerations were that this was a request made by both sides to us and it is helpful in the peace process," he adds.

It was a unanimous decision, though the Cabinet did contemplate the "downsides" to it.

He did not elaborate on these.

"It's primarily a question of principle. It is the right thing to do, it is a good thing for regional security, international security, and it benefits Singapore in a strategic way because it enhances our well-being as a country and a people."

In the end, preparations started in earnest just slightly more than two weeks to the summit date.

The effort was spearheaded by inter-ministerial teams led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The Home Affairs, Defence, Communications and Information, and Transport ministries also played key roles.

At least 7,400 public officers were roped in. They included 5,000 from the Home Team, 2,000 from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), over 300 information officers and 80 officers from the MFA.

This was similar in scale to the IMF-World Bank meetings that Singapore hosted in 2006 and which took over five years to plan. Back then, 8,000 public officials and 2,000 volunteers were involved.

This time, working within the short timeframe was "a bit of a mission impossible", recalls Mr Jimmy Toh, 46, who was in charge of getting a media centre up and running for over 2,500 journalists who covered the event.

"We went around, a bit like real estate agents, exploring all the hotels, convention halls. For those that were big enough, they were occupied. For those that were ideal, they didn't have the capacity to take in the numbers.

"There was quite a fair bit of disappointment along the way," says Mr Toh, senior director of engagement at the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

In the end, officials hit on the idea of converting the F1 Pit Building into a media centre.

The bulk of MCI's spending - which The Sunday Times understands amounted to $5 million or so - went to this.

It took a whole-of-government effort to pull things off. Among those who handled the media were people from across 10 ministries, including teachers and policy officers.

Inter-agency cooperation also helped ensure smooth immigration clearance of the US and North Korean delegations, says Insp Nair.

There were hundreds of visas to process in just two weeks. To get it done, ICA worked with the MFA, Singapore Customs, the police and bodies such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.


As it turned out, the uncertainty faced by the airport staff on Tuesday was a theme that ran throughout the summit, from the time the leaders arrived last Sunday.

This was largely due to the lack of trust on both sides, and the sensitivity of the meeting: It was the first between a serving US president and a North Korean leader, whose countries are technically still at war.

The lack of familiarity with the North Koreans, who are famously paranoid about secrecy and security, added another level of complexity to the preparations.

Unlike with the US, where there is already a well-established set of practices, there were no past bilateral visits to model on for hosting Mr Kim, says MFA's chief of protocol Ong Siew Gay, whose team was in charge of ensuring the correct etiquette was followed in interactions with the two visiting leaders.

Erring on the side of caution, Mr Ong made sure to mention even the tiniest details to his North Korean counterpart in running through the visit. There was no telling what could offend Mr Kim, or if something would pose a security concern, and he did not want to leave anything to chance, he adds.

One such detail was the signing of the guest book at the Istana before Mr Kim's bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last Sunday.

A draft with the inscription of Mr Kim's name was handed in advance to the North Koreans for them to check that the title - Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - was acceptable.

Effort was also made to explain how exactly the signing ceremony would play out - for instance, who else would be around.

Just this short sequence required two or three rounds of back-and-forth before a plan was settled on.

Language also posed a barrier.

There was only one North Korean representative who spoke good English designated to liaise with Mr Ong and his team.

The same issue cropped up for the officers working on security.

SAF Third Warrant Officer Terrence Lee, team commander-in-charge of the security sweep of the Capella Singapore where the summit was held, recounts how he resorted to hand gestures to communicate with the North Korean security team as they combed the hotel grounds together.

"We would give the North Koreans hand signals, like 'OK' or 'let's move on'," he says, gesticulating to Insight.

From the security perspective, North Korea was also an "unknown partner", says the police force's director of operations How Kwang Hwee, 39.

"We had to start to understand and learn from them in terms of how they work," he adds. "Because they are operating in Singapore, they also have to work in a way that meets our requirements."

Many discussions took place, going through the various points of deployment, "agreeing, disagreeing, changing the way we deploy" officers.

The North Korean leader is famously worried about assassination, and his officials baulked even at the equipment of journalists covering the event, concerned that the cameras could be concealed weapons, the Associated Press reported.

Besides his jogging bodyguards, Mr Kim had other unusual security requirements.

Insight understands these included special requests for him not to be photographed entering his vehicle. He had also flown in his own food, and is said to have needed a special area for his cooks to prepare his meals.

Keeping plans under wraps is a standard practice in protecting leaders, but most of Mr Kim's schedule was shrouded in secrecy, and revealed at the very last minute even to the Singapore authorities.

His decision to tour Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Jubilee Bridge as well as the Pasir Panjang port facilities on Monday night, for instance, was unexpected.

The request was made just a few hours before.

This posed a challenge to the police and the SAF that had to secure the landmarks and the route his motorcade would take before his visit.

Selected locations also had to be swept for chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threats.

The late confirmation of essential details for the summit itself posed the biggest challenge to securing it, says Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong.

Information such as key locations was confirmed just a week before it began. Even then, the exact plans and requirements of both countries were not clear until the security forces later met up with advance parties from both sides.

On the US side, Mr Trump is also one of a small number of people in the world with the highest security classifications.

He, too, was a volatile personality. The Washington Post reported that after he arrived in Singapore last Sunday, Mr Trump, feeling antsy and bored, had wanted his officials to move the long-planned meeting forward by a day, to Monday.

"We're here now. Why can't we just do it?" he reportedly asked, before being talked out of the idea.

It left some on the US side fearful that the summit might be scuttled, said the Post, quoting two people familiar with preparations.

The US officials later credited the Singapore Government for helping to prevent the mistrust on both sides from jeopardising the summit, the AP reported.

Commenting on the security operations, Mr Shanmugam says: "If we couldn't guarantee the safety and security of the American President or Chairman Kim, there would have been no summit.

"It's because they believed that we could guarantee that they agreed, and of course we then had to go ahead and make sure that it worked."


Some had bristled at Mr Trump and Mr Kim meeting as equals during the summit, saying it legitimised the North Korean regime accused of running concentration camps and executing hundreds of people.

But as host, Singapore was told by both delegations "that there ought to be as much as possible optical parity", says Mr Ong. The North Koreans were especially emphatic about this, he adds.

So, whether it was motorcade arrangements, the receiving party at the airport or the hotels they stayed in, the treatment had to be equal.

For instance, when it looked like the US delegation was likely to stay in the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore helped an advance North Korea team narrow their search to somewhere comparable.

In the end, the North Koreans settled on The St Regis Singapore.

Both leaders were received by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at the airport.

Each of their motorcades also had about 40 vehicles in the main convoy, with Singapore having supplied some armoured vehicles to the North Korean delegation for use.

On Singapore's part, it also meant offering both leaders the same meetings and meals. Both delegations were told that PM Lee could either host a lunch or dinner on top of their bilateral meetings, but North Korea decided that it did not have time for a meal, and went with just a meeting, says Mr Ong.

Singapore, meanwhile, paid for the North Korean delegation's hotel stay, though not for the Americans who paid their own way, as is the norm for such bilateral events hosted by a third party.

This attracted some flak.

A wefie taken by Dr Balakrishnan and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung with Mr Kim during his city tour also raised questions about whether the two Singapore ministers had crossed the line in being too chummy with him.

Asked about these criticisms, MFA's Mr Ong declines comment, saying only that it is not uncommon for Singapore to foot the hotel bill when leaders are here on state visits.

Those interviewed did not want to say how much Singapore paid this time. But the 3,600 sq ft presidential suite where Mr Kim stayed costs about $10,000 a night.

This was part of the total $20 million bill that Singapore footed for hosting the summit.

By comparison, the IMF-World Bank meetings cost Singapore about $130 million.


There were other aspects of the summit that engendered some discomfiture.

Sceptics have criticised the joint statement signed by both leaders at the close of the summit as being short on details, saying the summit in Singapore only helped to boost Mr Kim's international prestige.

A 42-minute-long film aired on Thursday by North Korean state television cemented this view for this group. The documentary depicted Mr Kim as "a prominent world leader" who was welcomed with "deep respect and boundless enthusiasm" in Singapore.

This has sparked unease among some Singaporeans, who ask if Singapore had played into North Korean propaganda.

Mr Shanmugam says he understands the unhappiness of those who object to Singapore hosting Mr Kim or Mr Trump, both of whom have their detractors.

"But you cannot conduct international diplomacy on that basis. You've got to ask yourself, is it in the country's interest. We cannot impose our moral standards personally on the leaders or on the countries. They didn't come on a bilateral visit to discuss issues with us; they came to talk to each other.

"We were a neutral venue and we have to behave like a neutral venue."

The minister adds that he believes the majority of Singaporeans support the hosting of the summit, which ended with the signing of a joint agreement in which both sides pledged to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Friends from around the world had sent him e-mails gushing about Singapore's beauty, which they saw on TV and on the front pages of their countries' newspapers for a few days, he says.

For instance, a Bloomberg commentary called on both visiting leaders to learn from Singapore.

Some have tried to put a dollar value to the benefits of playing host, with media intelligence company Meltwater saying that Singapore might have gained over $700 million in exposure from the wall-to-wall coverage.

However, Mr Shanmugam, a former foreign minister, says: "The primary benefit is that we helped on the path to peace.

"That is in the interest of the world, it is in the interest of the region and specifically in the interest of Singapore. I don't think you can put a dollar value on that."

But he adds that all the publicity could potentially translate to increased tourism and business opportunities. In the international relations arena, it also "reaffirms our position as a serious country that people trust and rely upon as a serious player".

Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh shares this sentiment, telling Insight: "The publicity and goodwill generated is definitely worth more than the $20 million we spent in hosting the summit. It has enhanced Singapore's soft power.

"It is also an example of our successful diplomacy."

Some, too, have suggested that Singapore may benefit economically, if North Korea does open up one day, but that is a prospect too far away to contemplate.

For now, there are some new friendships forged - though even the details of that are, perhaps predictably, hazy.

Police Inspector (NS) Gim Joo Hyung, 25, who interpreted for the North Korean delegation, has been invited to Pyongyang to try "Pyongyang Naengmyeon", a cold buckwheat noodle dish that Mr Kim had taken to an earlier summit between North and South Korean leaders.

"When I was leaving and when they were leaving, they said, 'Next time, let's meet in Pyongyang.'"

On whether they exchanged contact details, he said no.

He quips: "I guess if I'm there, they would know."

The Straits Times photojournalist's shots of Trump-Kim summit on display
By Nathanael Phang, The Straits Times, 27 Jun 2018

When the leaders of the US and North Korea strode into the courtyard of the Capella Singapore for their historic first public handshake, the cameras clicked into action to capture the moment for posterity.

The Straits Times' executive photojournalist Kevin Lim, picked by the White House as the single pool photographer for Singapore, said of the moment: "It was amazing, yet surreal, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

At the Programme Zone of the National Library Building until Friday, members of the public can view a curated exhibition of several of his photographs from the June 12 summit, including those which made their way into top news publications around the globe such as the cover of Time magazine.

Mr Lim, 35, who has been with The Straits Times for nine years, will also deliver a talk on Friday titled The Challenges Faced By Today's Photojournalists, as part of the askST@NLBtalk series.

He will discuss the pressures and obstacles he faces on the job, and share how he captured that eye-catching shot of United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their first meeting, which was picked up by publications around the globe.

Mr Lim said that he hopes to give the public a better understanding of the importance of photojournalists in the changing media landscape.

He added: "Even with the rise of citizen journalism and citizen-generated images, there are certain things you can't replace, such as the quality of image, having the know-how, the equipment and the instinct honed over time to capture the different moments and events."

The talk, which is free of charge, is limited to 400 people. As of yesterday, more than half of the places have been taken up.

Madam Rose Lim, a 61-year-old housewife, viewed the exhibition yesterday and described it as "a good compilation of the signature events from that particular day".

She added: "I am also surprised at how Kevin Lim managed to get such close-up shots."

Ng Eng Hen gives A grade to SAF for its security preparations for Trump-Kim summit
By Kor Kian Beng, Deputy News Editor, The Sunday Times, 1 Jul 2018

Short of a real war or terror attack, the recent Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore was as close or real a threat that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has had to face, and it aced the test, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

"I suppose in exam terms, this is a preliminary test which I think we scored an A. We will not get many, or if any more, such opportunities in peacetime," said Dr Ng, in an interview on Friday ahead of the SAF Day today.

He said the SAF had registered some firsts in its security deployment: putting new capabilities to test and casting a four-layered protective dome around Singapore, and particularly Sentosa where United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at Capella Singapore on June 12.

Dr Ng said he recounted the experience not to just commend the SAF but to underscore how invaluable the summit was in validating Singapore's defence systems that were built up over more than 50 years.

He said the mission was clear: to ensure absolute safety so that Mr Trump and Mr Kim, Chairman of State Affairs Commission, could hold their historic summit with no interruptions or security challenges.

No threats were detected by the SAF or intelligence personnel from the US and North Korea in the lead-up to or during the summit, said Dr Ng, adding that he gave the SAF an A grade, not A plus, because there were some gaps identified.

"But it was a success and most importantly, the strong show of deterrence kept would-be attackers away because it was a very clear sign that the SAF means business. If you decide to undertake any mischief, we will respond with nothing held back," he added.

Dr Ng said it was challenging for the SAF given the summit was confirmed about two weeks before June 12. That the summit's timing and location were made public in advance also made it less than ideal from a security perspective, he added.In all, some 2,000 SAF personnel from the army, air force and navy were deployed for the summit, which also saw the rare use of live munitions.

The summit allowed the SAF to try out for the first time new combat equipment acquired recently, such as the Littoral Mission Vessels and the Spyder ground-based air defence systems.

The minister declined to give details on the gaps identified in the security preparations, though he said steps are being taken to close them.

"The success of the mission comes from knowing that you have fulfilled your mission obviously. I mean if you fail your mission then you've done badly," he said. "But sometimes a greater success is learning gaps in your system, and that's very valuable."

* Trump-Kim summit cost $16.3 million, down from earlier estimate of $20 million: MFA
By Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 25 Jun 2018

About $16.3 million was spent on the historic summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, down from an earlier estimate of $20 million.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement yesterday that the biggest component of the amount was spent on security.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had previously estimated that the summit would cost about $20 million to host, said an MFA spokesman. Mr Lee had told reporters during a visit to the international media centre on June 10 that the summit was Singapore's contribution to an international endeavour that was "in our profound interest".

"It is a cost we are willing to pay," Mr Lee said, adding that security costs would likely account for about half that figure.

He said that the security requirements were much higher than for previous meetings because of the profile of the summit and the nature of what was being discussed.

Media spending was about $4 million, said a Ministry of Communications and Information spokesman.

The June 12 meeting concluded with the signing of a joint document between the two leaders, outlining their commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

In exchange for Pyongyang dismantling its nuclear programme, Washington had pledged to stop joint military exercises with Seoul.

** Mercedes-Benz cars used by North Korea in Trump-Kim Singapore summit may have been obtained illegally: UN report
By Fabian Koh, The Straits Times, 15 Mar 2019

The black Mercedes-Benz limousines used at last year's Trump-Kim summit in Singapore may have been obtained illegally by North Korea, according to a United Nations panel of experts.

A report released last week by the panel on its investigations into North Korea's breach of UN sanctions also claims that "there may have been a sanction violation" by Singapore in allowing North Korean officials to go on a study trip of its port facilities.

The report was released just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met United States President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, for their second summit.

The 378-page document also contains details on how North Korea continues to defy UN Security Council resolutions, with its illegal transfers of petroleum products and coal, as well as its supply of small arms and military equipment to places such as Yemen, Libya and Sudan.

The UN has placed sanctions on North Korea since 2006, making it illegal to sell, among other things, luxury items to the country.

The panel looked into whether the Mercedes-Benz limousines had been illegally shipped to North Korea, by determining the vehicle identification numbers and whether any had been altered.

"A number of these Mercedes-Benz (cars) were observed without licence plates during meetings in Singapore, Beijing and Pyongyang, and were utilised by at least one foreign head of state in (North Korea) in 2018," the panel said in its report.

Mr Kim was in Singapore in June last year for the historic meeting with Mr Trump at the Capella Singapore hotel in Sentosa. He was ferried around in a convoy of Mercedes-Benz cars that the North Koreans shipped in for the summit.

The panel requested vehicle identification numbers from Singapore and China, and also checked with South Korea's Presidential Security Service, as South Korean President Moon Jae-in was reported to have been a passenger in one of the cars.

Singapore, the UN panel report said, may have violated sanctions by hosting officials from North Korea's Nampo port.

The UN panel, in a letter to Singapore, noted the "systemic violations of the resolutions taking place at Nampo", such as the illegal importing and exporting of shipments containing items from or heading to North Korea.

Nampo is a hub for suspected illegal activity, such as the loading of illegal exports of coal and the prohibited transfer of fuel.

In response to the allegations, Singapore told the panel in a letter on Dec 4 last year that it had requested the vehicles' chassis and engine numbers, but that the North Korean officials declined to reveal the information, citing "national security reasons".

It also confirmed that North Korean Minister of Land and Maritime Transport Kang Jong Gwan, who oversees his country's port, shipping and vessel operations, had led a delegation to Singapore.

But it added that it had verified that the delegation members were not individuals the UN had barred other countries from dealing with.

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