Preparations for Trump-Kim summit 'well in hand': Vivian Balakrishnan
The facade of Capella Hotel in Sentosa, Jun 6, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)
SINGAPORE: Singapore did not volunteer to host the Jun 12 summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but it is "proud" that the country has been chosen, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said during a visit to Washington on Tuesday (Jun 5)."No, we did not put our hand up but we were asked. And in this case, both the North Koreans and the United States felt that we were an appropriate venue," Dr Balakrishnan said, adding that it was the Americans who approached Singapore first.
He expressed hope that there will be a positive outcome, but cautioned that one meeting will not "unlock the entire situation on the Korean Peninsula". "If you can make a positive step, it’d be significant in its own right. But if you look in the long term, surely the people in North Korea deserve to have economic development," he said.
TRADE WAR CONCERNSDr Balakrishnan met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton during his visit.
He told reporters that much of their discussions centred on a potential trade war that is brewing between the US and several countries."Singapore is a place where our trade is three times our GDP. So any disruption to world trade will be a problem for us. So I made that point as strongly as I could," he said.
The US' stance on trade was one area Singapore has different views on, he added."We are not in favour of unilateral measures. We certainly do not want trade wars. And this is a view we have expressed quite candidly to the Americans as well. But we’ll wait and see," he said.
Dr Balakrishnan will head to North Korea next for an official visit before the summit.