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Singapore spent $12 million on US-North Korea summit

/ 07:23 AM June 25, 2018

A dealer displays Singapore dollar notes at a money changer in Singapore in this April 10, 2008, photo. AFP FILE

SINGAPORE – Singapore said Sunday it spent Sg$16.3 million ($12 million) on the historic US-North Korea summit, adding it was less than initially anticipated after some in the city-state complained about the high cost.

US President Donald Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore on June 12 for talks aimed at ending a tense nuclear standoff.

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The meeting was the culmination of a rapid detente between Pyongyang and Washington and saw Kim commit to working towards denuclearization, although critics noted the summit agreement was vague and non-binding.

Singapore, an affluent financial hub, was seen as a good choice for the summit due to its warm ties with both the US and North Korea, and reputation for strict order.

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But some Singaporeans thought welcoming the mercurial leaders was more an annoyance than an honor, particularly when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong estimated the tiny state would have to shell out Sg$20 million ($14.7 million) to host the meeting.

However in the end, the cost incurred by the government was about Sg$16.3 million, the biggest part of which was spent on security, said a ministry of foreign affairs spokesman in a statement.

It noted that Singapore had “supported the international efforts to achieve peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula”.

Tightly-controlled Singapore rolled out a massive security operation for the meeting, deploying thousands of police, setting up road-blocks and banning flares and loudhailers near summit venues to prevent protests.

As well as the security operation, the Singapore government footed the bill for the delegation from the sanctions-hit North, including Kim’s stay at the luxury St Regis hotel, according to the BBC.

They would have also had to pay a substantial amount for facilities for the huge number of journalists that covered the summit.

The clampdown was disruptive for many residents in the usually placid city-state of 5.6 million — although some observers said hosting the summit amounted to a PR coup that would ultimately benefit Singapore. /cbb

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TAGS: Donald Trump, Kim Jong-Un, news, Singapore, US-North Korea summit
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