Singapore will bear some costs of Trump-Kim summit: minister

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will bear some of the cost of the planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, its defense minister Ng Eng Hen said on Saturday, a day after Trump put the meeting back on agenda.

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Kim’s trip to Singapore, which would be the furthest he would have traveled as leader, poses logistical challenges that are likely to include using Soviet-era aircraft to carry him and his limousine, as well as dozens of security and other staff.

The Washington Post reported earlier that some unresolved logistical issues relating to the summit were who would pay the hotel bills of the leader of the cash-strapped country, whose economy has been squeezed by a series of U.N. and unilateral sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Singapore, a small but wealthy Southeast Asian city-state, is determined to successfully host the summit and is willing to foot at least some of the bill.

“Obviously yes, but it is a cost that we’re willing to bear to play a small part in this historic meeting,” Ng told reporters without elaborating, when asked if Singapore will be bearing the cost of the summit, which is scheduled for June 12.

Kim Chang Son, the de facto chief of staff for the North Korean government was seen this week at The Fullerton, a centrally located, five-star hotel that is a refurbished government building overlooking the Singapore river. Media reports said he was in Singapore to meet U.S. officials to work out logistics for the summit

The Fullerton was North Korea’s lodging of choice, the Washington Post said. The presidential suite may set the government back by at least 8,000 Singapore dollars ($6,000) a night, it said.

The hotel declined to provide the room charge for the presidential suite.

There was no confirmation on the location for the meeting between Kim and Trump although there are a number of sites in Singapore that can guarantee security protection, including hotels that have experience hosting high-security events, local media and a Singapore government official said.

Among the potential venues mentioned as the site of the summit include the Shangri-la Hotel, which hosted Indian Prime Minister and defense chiefs from around the world this weekend, and the Capella hotel on the resort island of Sentosa.

The 348-square meter Shangri-la Suite in the Valley Wing of the Shangri-la was priced at S$10,000 for the June 12 night.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Jack Kim and Raju Gopalakrishnan