03 June 2018
There are many intricacies of hosting the June 12 summit, during which a sitting American president and a North Korean leader will meet for the first time since the Cold War that saw Korea split into two.
Singapore’s role, as host, is “to provide a peaceful, safe and conducive environment for the summit”, Ambassador-at-Large Ong Keng Yong tells The Sunday Times. “The host should also be ready to provide any other assistance as requested by the two sides, provided that this is within the ability of the host to provide,” he adds.
Many other behind-the-scenes considerations have to be thought through, from security to logistics to ensuring – as Dr Alan Chong of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) puts it – “an atmosphere of visible equality”.
“It is a complex operation and we should salute our officers who are dealing with the preparations,” says Mr Ong, noting that multiple ministries and agencies will be involved. These include the Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Defence, Communications and Information, and Transport ministries and agencies.
Dr Graham Ong-Webb of RSIS notes that Singapore is taking charge of the form and not the substance of the summit – but added that the form can be very important, as it ensures that “on an emotional, psychological and mental level, the people doing the discussing are in the best possible setting”.
“Protocol can make or break summits,” he adds.
This is why, prior to the summit, there will be discussions between Singapore and both parties, “which would allow us to better understand the situation, including possible sensitivities”, says Mr Ong.
CMS / GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 05/06/2018