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Singapore footing N Korean contingent’s hotel bill

Singapore, June 11: Singapore is footing the hotel bill for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his contingent who are here for a historic summit with US President Donald Trump, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Monday. “It’s hospitality that we would have offered them, and as Chairman Kim said yesterday, he would have liked to have come to Singapore anyway, with or without the summit,” Balakrishnan said in a interview.

Kim arrived in Singapore on Sunday to participate in the summit scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at the exclusive Capella Hotel in Sentosa Island, reports The Straits Times. The two leaders are expected to discuss possible denuclearisation efforts, peace and stabilty. “We would, of course, have offered hospitality,” Balakrishnan added, when asked if Singapore paid for the North Korean contingent’s hotel stay at The St Regis Singapore. He added that the expenditure forms part of the $20 million that Singapore is spending on the summit in all. Of this, half is on security, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier.

Another $5 million, goes towards facilitating the contingent of journalists here, numbering more than 2,500. According to reports, Kim is “notoriously” paranoid about his safety. A North Korean team came to Singapore ahead of his arrival to check the hotels and also met local officials, reports The Straits Times. This is Kim’s first known trip outside Northeast Asia since taking power in 2011. Trump also reached Singapore on Sunday night. On Monday, he held a working lunch with Prime Minister Lee and thanked him for the hospitality. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita