June 6, 2018
SINGAPORE ― The historic summit next week between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa, the White House said Tuesday (U.S.time).
The meeting is due to begin at 10:00 a.m. (KST) June 12
“The venue for the Singapore summit between @POTUS and leader Kim Jong-un will be the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a Twitter post.
The confirmation came hours after the Singapore government designated Sentosa and the links to the island from Harbourfront as a special event area from June 10 to 14.
Following the announcement of the venue, the Singapore government declared the Trump-Kim summit an “Enhanced Security Special Event,” under which it will enforce strict security measures at the venues and surrounding areas through spot checks and inspections.
Experts said security was the top priority for deciding on the Capella Hotel as the venue for the summit.
“The key consideration here is security. The Capella is on Sentosa island off Singapore’s coast so access to Sentosa can be tightly controlled,” Liang Tuang Nah, a research fellow of the Military Studies Program at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore, told The Korea Times.
“Also, any facilities-based shortcomings the Capella might have, which another hotel such as the Shangri-La won’t, can be easily rectified by equipment brought in from mainland Singapore.”
Sitting in the middle of 12 hectares of lawn and rainforest, the five-star hotel had been considered one of the most likely venues together with the Shangri-La Hotel, whose surrounding area was also designated as a special event zone Sunday.
Minutes away from the Central Business District by car, the location of the hotel with 111 guestrooms and villas is believed to provide the best security because it is secluded and private.
A week ago, the U.S. delegation, led by Joe Hagin, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, had talks with Kim Chang-son, a top aide to Kim Jong-un, at the hotel, to discuss security and protocol issues.
With the summit venue chosen, attention is shifting to where the two leaders will be based during their visit to Singapore for the landmark meeting.
Given that North Korea is highly sensitive to protocol, chances are low that Trump will stay at the Capella Hotel because it could give the impression that the American president will play host to the summit.
Therefore, it is probable that Trump will stay at the Shangri-La Hotel where the U.S. delegation will be based from June 8 to 14. According to a Shangri-La official, Monday, the U.S. embassy booked most of the rooms at the hotel during that period.
Kim Jong-un and the delegation from the North are expected to stay at the Fullerton Hotel where Kim Chong-son stayed during his advance visit to Singapore last week for site checks.
According to a Singapore-based tour operator, the hotel blocked room sales from June 9 to 14. On June 1, The Washington Post reported that Kim Jong-un wants to stay at the Fullerton Hotel.
In a related move, meetings between the U.S. and North Korea continued Wednesday in both Singapore and Panmunjeom.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a regular press briefing that in Singapore, the two sides are discussing meeting arrangements and protocol, while talks at Panmunjom are centered on a potential agreement for the summit.
The U.S. has yet to confirm, however, whether President Moon Jae-in will join Trump and Kim in Singapore.
“I can tell you we are constantly in conversation with the government of South Korea as we are with Japan as well,” Nauert said. “A trip to Singapore to my knowledge has not come up but I’d have to refer you back to the government of South Korea.”
In related news, there have been some reports of former NBA star Dennis Rodman visiting Singapore during the historic meeting. Rodman visited Kim in the North three times in 2013 and 2014.
Source: The Korea Times