According to a report by the Washington Post on Saturday (2 Jun), the meeting between American President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore has presented several logistical concerns, key of which was on “Who's going to pay for Kim Jong Un's hotel stay”?
The reported noted that the cash-poor but nuclear armed state has its funds squeezed dry by economic sanctions and had previously relied on other countries to fund its international travel.
For example, South Korea set aside $2.6 million to cover travel accommodation for a North Korean cheering squad during, art troupe and official delegations for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In regard to the 12 Jun meeting, the report noted that “United States is open to covering the costs… but it's mindful that Pyongyang may view a US payment as insulting. As a result, US planners are considering asking the host country of Singapore to pay for the North Korean delegation's bill”.
This is not the only challenge as Kim’s current plane is an underused Soviet-era Ilyushin Il-62, whose limited flying range was one of the key factors the summit took place in Singapore. Some reports say that the plane may not be able to make the distance despite having to carry him, his limousine, as well as dozens of security and other staff.
Ng Eng Hen: Singapore is willing to bear costs to play a small part in this historic meeting
When asked by reporters whether Singapore would be willing to foot the bill for the meeting, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen replied: "Obviously yes, but it is a cost that we're willing to bear to play a small part in this historic meeting."
According to earlier media reports, North Korea's lodging of choice was the Fullerton Hotel. Already, de facto chief of staff for the North Korean government Kim Chang Son was seen this week there, where media reports said he was in Singapore to meet U.S. officials to work out logistics for the summit.
Although the hotel declined to comment on its rate, the Presidential suite is estimated to cost at least SGD$8,000 a night.
Not surprisingly, Netizens have voiced unhappiness over this decision.
One Tan Lii Chong said on the Yahoo! Singapore Facebook page "Why Should our money use to foot the bill? I prefer the amount to use in helping the poor the underprivileged. I rather the nation not to host the event just to be famous".
Qi Siang Ng felt that hosting two infamous leaders was" Not worth the money. They should be paying Singapore for tolerating the presence of a racist and an international criminal. And they expect us to pay for his party? "
Ah Huat Yeo questioned the motives of doing so: “The cost will be a lot more than that. Two nuke armed snorlaxes and our local queen here, who would take the centre stage? Highly doubt that our queen will not want to be in the limelight even though is none of his business.
Another Raymond Lee commented: “Why use tax payers money to pay for this unrelated summit, either they pay themselves or they go somewhere else to meet. This summit is also inviting for trouble to our peaceful island”.
Do you agree?