US President Trump announced in his State of the Union address that the second US-North Korea summit will be held in Vietnam on 27-28th February. A specific location has yet to be announced but the speculation is that either Hanoi or Danang would play host.
The first historical summit between the two world leaders took place in June last year in Singapore. The summit caused a media frenzy on the island as hordes of reporters arrived to cover the meeting.
The public however, were less than satisfied as the summit had cost the country approximately S$16 million. Still, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said that the final bill was less than the estimated S$20 million.
Of the amount spent, the biggest component was on security. According to the Observer, Singapore spend about S$8 million on security alone. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned that the security effort involved “all-round protection and in-depth protection – air, sea and land – against attack and against mishap”.
Apart from that, the Republic also spent S$3.5 million to set up a media centre at the Formula One track to accommodate over 2,500 reporters, journalists, and media crew from across the globe.
On top of that, Singapore also shouldered the cost of accommodation for Kim Jong Un’s staff as the US refused to foot the bill for North Korean officials. Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan announced the Singapore government would be paying for the North Korean contingent’s hotel bill as it was “hospitality that we would have offered them.”
For the third richest country in the world according to the International Monetary Fund, this cost was comfortably absorbed. At the time, PM Lee said it was a cost that the country was “willing to pay”.
For Vietnam, however, this might not be the case. Sure, the second summit will probably create less of a media buzz, but it’s still a major political event which will attract many media representatives. They’ll have to accommodate the horde. And while the crowds will boost the country’s hospitality industry and garner plenty of media attention, there’s still a hefty bill for them to pay at the end of the day, especially if the US and North Korea do the same thing they did with the summit in Singapore.