SINGAPORE ― Playing host to one of the 21st century’s most highly watched diplomatic meetings comes with a hefty price tag, as Singapore has discovered.
The host nation of Tuesday’s U.S.-North Korea summit has shelled out $20 million Singapore dollars, or about $15 million U.S. dollars, on the historic event, according to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Lee told reporters on Sunday that half the amount had gone toward enhancing security for the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Several million dollars also had been spent to support the contingent of about 2,500 foreign media expected to travel to the small but wealthy city-state to cover the event.
“It cost some money and resources to put up. It’s a lot of effort for our security [and] communications people,” Lee said, according to Today newspaper. “[But] it is a cost that we are willing to pay and it’s our contribution to an international endeavor that is in our profound interest.”
Lee said he hoped the summit would lead to greater “security and stability” in the region.
“From our point of view, it’s important that the meeting take place, and that the meeting sets developments on a new trajectory ― one that will be conducive to the security and stability of the region,” he said. “Therefore, when the two sides asked us to host the meeting, we cannot say no. We have to step up.”
Lee suggested that Singapore ― one of the few countries that has diplomatic relations with both Washington and Pyongyang ― also could benefit from the meeting thanks to the “publicity” generated about the Southeast Asian island.
“The fact that we have been chosen as the site of the meeting, we did not ask for it... it says something about Singapore relations with the parties... and our standing in the international community,” he said, according to Channel News Asia.
Kim arrived in Singapore Sunday afternoon, local time. Lee met with him on Sunday evening at the Istana, the official residence of Singapore’s president, hours after the North Korean leader’s arrival at Changi Airport. Lee live-streamed the meeting on Facebook.
Trump arrived in the country Sunday night, and the prime minister is expected to meet with him on Monday.