Trump-Kim summit: Here’s why Singapore was chosen
ON JUNE 12, 2018, Singapore will play host to one of the most historic events of our lifetime – the Trump-Kim summit.
The news was confirmed by US President Donald Trump and later, Singapore.
“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Trump tweeted.
“We hope this meeting will advance prospects for peace in the Korean Peninsula,” the island city-state’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a May 10, 2018 statement.
Previously, it was expected that the meet would take place inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas, where South Korean President Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un met in late April for the inter-Korean summit.
There were also rumors that the summit may be held in Beijing, China.
So why Singapore, also known as the Lion City, a country 4,828km south of North Korean capital Pyongyang and even further for Trump?
When two notoriously unpredictable world leaders meet, of course, security is top priority.
The ultra-modern country is widely considered as one of the safest cities in Asia and its land area of only 719.9 square kilometers allows for a controlled environment.
Singapore also has a track record for putting together top-level international summits.
- 2005: The 117th International Olympic Committee Session, when the hosting city for the 2012 Summer Olympics was decided.
- 2006: The 61st Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (IMF-World Bank).
- 2015: The historic meeting between China’s president Xi Jinping and then Taiwanese president Ma Ying Jeou.
To add on, Singapore also hosts the annual Shangri-La Dialogue.
The multi-day dialogue, held at Shangri-La Hotel, is region’s most important defense forum attended by heads of state, defense ministers, and high-level military officials.
“Singapore is the best alternative option for both nations because it has maintained close diplomatic ties to the US and has also established relations with North Korea with a North Korean embassy on its soil,” The Straits Times quoted the Asian Institute for Policy Studies senior fellow Dr. Shin Beom Chul as saying.
The Seoul-based expert added North Korea would have preferred other countries such as China, Russia, and Mongolia, but the US would have minded their positions as global rivals or as an unfamiliar third party.
“As a neutral, and objective country with much-admired consistent foreign policy principles and a small state with no desire or capacity to harm other states and their interests, Singapore fits that bill well,” National University of Singapore’s East Asia Institute adjunct research fellow Lim Tai Wei told The Straits Times.
On top of good political ties with both Trump and North Korea, Singapore is also known as one of the top three financial hubs in the world, the first two being London and New York.
Its competitive financial market contributes to its thriving economy. In fact, banking in Singapore is a service industry that has grown significantly in recent years. Singapore is home to over 200 banks.
Coupled with its healthy foreign relations and robust security infrastructure, it cements the country’s status as one of the most stable (if not the most stable) Asian countries.