Singapore gears up to host Trump-Kim summit
ABCNews.com(SENSOTA ISLAND, Singapore) — The on-again, off-again and now on-again summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is set for next week on a secluded island off the coast of Singapore, in southeast Asia.
Both delegations have been in the small city-state nation since the end of May preparing for the historic June 12 meeting, which the White House said Tuesday would take place at the Capella Hotel, a five-star luxury resort on Sentosa Island.
Luxury and seclusion
The American team has already set up shop at the Capella Hotel, a short drive away from the main business center of the country. Joe Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff, has reportedly met the leader of the North Korean delegation, Kim Chang Son, at the Capella to discuss the details of the summit. The two are finalizing the security, protocol and logistical details.
The luxurious main reception area and guest villas were designed by Sir Norman Foster, a famous British architect who restored the former colonial buildings that once were used to house the British military during Imperial rule.
The Capella has already stopped accepting bookings for the summit period, according to an executive in the hospitality industry, an early indication the hotel would be either where Trump would stay or the site of the summit.
The Capella, which sits on 30 acres of lawn and rainforest, has banned journalists from entering the property since the U.S. delegation arrived. A Washington Post reporter was expelled from the grounds after trying to speak to the diplomats.
Kim Jong Un’s hotel
The North Korean delegation has been seen coming and going from the Fullerton Hotel, an old colonial building that was once the main post office.
The hotel has a stunning position on the marina surrounded by modern skyscrapers that have sprung up on reclaimed land in the past decade.
Singapore is picking up the costs of the massive security that will be required to host the event.
Local media reports helicopters and planes will patrol the air and hundreds of police will monitor the various venues. Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen told reporters over the weekend, “It’s a cost we’re willing to bear to play a small part.”
The Washington Post reported last week that the summit discussion has included how the North Korean delegation will cover the costs of their accommodations and security. The international sanctions against North Korea make access to hard currency difficult and legally challenging.
The State Department has denied that the American government will help pay the costs of the delegation from North Korea.
“We are not paying for the DPRK delegation and we are not asking others to do so,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told ABC News Sunday, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Where will the media go?
Five thousand members of the media have requested access to cover the summit. The Formula One pit stop area is being transformed into the International Media Center by the government of Singapore, where they will receive updates through media briefings.
It is located miles from the actual site of the summit at the Capella hotel.
History of high-level meetings
Many have guessed the summit would be held at the Shangri-La Hotel, and there’s still a chance it could play a role in some way, as thousands of people descend on Singapore for the historic event.
The Shangri-La staff are well prepared for high-profile, high-security meetings. The hotel was the site of the first high-stakes meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan in 2015 and it also hosts an annual summit of defense leaders known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. This year’s conference, which concluded on June 3, was attended by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, his counterparts from South Korea and Japan, the Prime Minister of India and other senior officials of foreign governments.
The White House has yet to announce where Trump’s delegation will stay, and the Shangri-La could potentially host. Both President Barack Obama and President George H.W. Bush stayed at the hotel during visits to Singapore.
Another possible venue, the Marina Bay Hotel, is owned by a company connected to Trump donor Sheldon Adelson. The three-tower complex that is connected by a roof designed to look like a ship has become one of the landmark sites in the country. The iconic location is likely to be used for a photo opportunity, according to local media.
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