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Pictures | Wed Jun 6, 2018 | 9:30am EDT

Singapore's 'orchid diplomacy'

A combination photo shows the VIP orchids named after politicians and dignitaries at Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden. Heads of state, royalty and celebrities who visit Singapore often leave with a specially grown orchid, the national flower of the wealthy city-state, named after them.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

A combination photo shows the VIP orchids named after politicians and dignitaries at Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden. Heads of state, royalty and celebrities who visit Singapore often leave with a specially grown orchid, the...more

A combination photo shows the VIP orchids named after politicians and dignitaries at Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden. Heads of state, royalty and celebrities who visit Singapore often leave with a specially grown orchid, the national flower of the wealthy city-state, named after them. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The Dendrobium Barack and Michelle Obama has a cream and yellow centre with twisted petals; Chinese President Xi Jinping's shows tiny red flecks on a bright pink background and Nelson Mandela's is a bold yellow-orange with pointed tips. 

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Barack and Michelle Obama has a cream and yellow centre with twisted petals; Chinese President Xi Jinping's shows tiny red flecks on a bright pink background and Nelson Mandela's is a bold yellow-orange with pointed tips....more

The Dendrobium Barack and Michelle Obama has a cream and yellow centre with twisted petals; Chinese President Xi Jinping's shows tiny red flecks on a bright pink background and Nelson Mandela's is a bold yellow-orange with pointed tips. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana. Botanists, media and analysts are curious to learn if Singapore will extend its "orchid diplomacy" to U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when they arrive on the island for historic talks on June 12.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana. Botanists, media and analysts are curious to learn if Singapore will extend its "orchid diplomacy" to U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when they arrive on the island for historic...more

The Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana. Botanists, media and analysts are curious to learn if Singapore will extend its "orchid diplomacy" to U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when they arrive on the island for historic talks on June 12. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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Visitors take photos of orchids at Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden. Nicholas Fang, director of security and global affairs at think tank the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the host country might well do this on the sidelines of the event, as a gesture of goodwill and friendship. "This kind of soft diplomacy is something that is uniquely Singaporean," said Fang. "Whether it will be one orchid for each of the leaders or one that marks the joint nature of the summit, we will have to wait and see."

REUTERS/Edgar Su

Visitors take photos of orchids at Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden. Nicholas Fang, director of security and global affairs at think tank the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the host country might well do this on...more

Visitors take photos of orchids at Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden. Nicholas Fang, director of security and global affairs at think tank the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the host country might well do this on the sidelines of the event, as a gesture of goodwill and friendship. "This kind of soft diplomacy is something that is uniquely Singaporean," said Fang. "Whether it will be one orchid for each of the leaders or one that marks the joint nature of the summit, we will have to wait and see." REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher. The special orchids are displayed in the Botanic Gardens, the only such tropical site figuring on the world heritage list of culture agency UNESCO. It is just beyond the western edge of a special zone designated for the summit.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher. The special orchids are displayed in the Botanic Gardens, the only such tropical site figuring on the world heritage list of culture agency UNESCO. It is just beyond the western edge of a special zone designated for...more

The Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher. The special orchids are displayed in the Botanic Gardens, the only such tropical site figuring on the world heritage list of culture agency UNESCO. It is just beyond the western edge of a special zone designated for the summit. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The Dendrobium Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull. The June 12 event aims to start a discussion on ending the isolated and impoverished North's nuclear weapons programme in return for diplomatic and economic incentives and bringing peace to the Korean peninsula.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull. The June 12 event aims to start a discussion on ending the isolated and impoverished North's nuclear weapons programme in return for diplomatic and economic incentives and bringing peace to the Korean...more

The Dendrobium Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull. The June 12 event aims to start a discussion on ending the isolated and impoverished North's nuclear weapons programme in return for diplomatic and economic incentives and bringing peace to the Korean peninsula. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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A view of samples in the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Singapore has not yet made public any plans to present orchids to either leader. Orchid diplomacy "plays an important role in building bilateral ties", says NParks, the agency that runs the gardens. More than 200 orchids have been named after dignitaries, it said last year.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

A view of samples in the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Singapore has not yet made public any plans to present orchids to either leader. Orchid diplomacy "plays an important role in building bilateral...more

A view of samples in the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Singapore has not yet made public any plans to present orchids to either leader. Orchid diplomacy "plays an important role in building bilateral ties", says NParks, the agency that runs the gardens. More than 200 orchids have been named after dignitaries, it said last year. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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Lab technicians work in the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory. Both Kim's father and grandfather have national flowers named for them - "Kimjongilia" and "Kimilsungia" - and carefully cultivated at a three-story exhibition hall in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang that opened in 2002. But the current ruler is not known to have a flower named for him.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

Lab technicians work in the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory. Both Kim's father and grandfather have national flowers named for them - "Kimjongilia" and "Kimilsungia" - and carefully cultivated at a three-story exhibition hall in the...more

Lab technicians work in the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory. Both Kim's father and grandfather have national flowers named for them - "Kimjongilia" and "Kimilsungia" - and carefully cultivated at a three-story exhibition hall in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang that opened in 2002. But the current ruler is not known to have a flower named for him. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The latest orchid named in Singapore was the Dendrobium Narendra Modi, marking an official visit by the Indian prime minister this month.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The latest orchid named in Singapore was the Dendrobium Narendra Modi, marking an official visit by the Indian prime minister this month. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The latest orchid named in Singapore was the Dendrobium Narendra Modi, marking an official visit by the Indian prime minister this month. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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Other foreign leaders with orchids dedicated to them are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured).

REUTERS/Edgar Su

Other foreign leaders with orchids dedicated to them are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured). REUTERS/Edgar Su

Other foreign leaders with orchids dedicated to them are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured). REUTERS/Edgar Su
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British royals have several, with the most recent named for heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla (pictured) in 2017, while pop singer Elton John has his own.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

British royals have several, with the most recent named for heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla (pictured) in 2017, while pop singer Elton John has his own. REUTERS/Edgar Su

British royals have several, with the most recent named for heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla (pictured) in 2017, while pop singer Elton John has his own. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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A view of the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory. "When Singapore names an orchid after a foreign leader, it is usually a hybrid orchid," said one of the staff at Woon Leng Nursery, which specializes in orchids. "And a hybrid orchid is difficult to make - it takes at least five years. This is why it has become something rare and unique. There is just a lot of value in the process."

REUTERS/Edgar Su

A view of the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory. "When Singapore names an orchid after a foreign leader, it is usually a hybrid orchid," said one of the staff at Woon Leng Nursery, which specializes in orchids. "And a hybrid orchid is...more

A view of the Orchid Breeding and Micropropagation Laboratory. "When Singapore names an orchid after a foreign leader, it is usually a hybrid orchid," said one of the staff at Woon Leng Nursery, which specializes in orchids. "And a hybrid orchid is difficult to make - it takes at least five years. This is why it has become something rare and unique. There is just a lot of value in the process." REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The Dendrobium Joaquim Alberto Chissano.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Joaquim Alberto Chissano. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Joaquim Alberto Chissano. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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The Dendrobium Masako Kotaishi Hidenka.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Masako Kotaishi Hidenka. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Dendrobium Masako Kotaishi Hidenka. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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