SINGAPORE — The tiny, balmy city-state island of Singapore is bracing for a historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un slated to take place there in just one week, on June 12.
The meeting is expected to take place in one of Singapore’s five-star hotels. The location is believed to have been chosen but not yet announced.
U.S. and Singaporean government officials have been working hard to prepare for it.
In recent weeks, the U.S. has sent additional officials to Singapore to assist with logistics.
A Singaporean official told Breitbart News that even when President Trump canceled the summit last week, preparations for it continued.
The summit has derailed Singaporean officials’ summer plans, the official said, since June is a vacation month and children are out of school.
And some hotel and travel industry workers say they are stressed about the summit and plan to call in sick if the meeting takes place in their hotel because of the extra work and stress that will go into it.
On Saturday, one hotel worker said she heard that four five-star hotels are in the running, including the Capella Singapore, Shangri-La Hotel, and the Jade Fullerton.
The Capella Singapore, a seaside resort abutting the South China Sea, is reportedly the most likely place for a summit due to its location on an island.
When asked if the summit would take place there, a wary staff member said she had “no idea.”
The colonial-style property, a former British military base, features a main hotel that is only five stories but spreads across a long expanse, with long grass and palm trees in a middle courtyard. There are also adjacent villas and manors.
Although the U.S.-North Korea negotiating team is at the hotel for prep-work on the summit, Breitbart News visited the hotel on Sunday and did not see any signs that the summit will take place there.
Security seemed lax, and it was easy to enter the hotel premises, walk around, and take photos. Only two workers were standing in front of the hotel driveway, and they were not checking identification.
A wedding took place there on Sunday, with a band playing and food arranged under white tents.
Other than the wedding, the premises seemed vacant — which could be a sign the hotel is reserving space for the summit.
The island on which Capella is located, Sentosa, is hard to access for the general public. To access the area, one needs to pay $6 at a toll booth and have a valid reason to enter, or enter by bus.
Regarding availability between June 11 and June 13, the hotel’s website states, “We apologize. There are no available rooms for your requested stay. Please check your dates and try again.”
Meanwhile, at the Shangri La Hotel, another lavishly decorated hotel in Singapore where the summit could take place, security was extremely heavy and had at least two police checkpoints leading to the hotel, screening vehicles passing through.
At one checkpoint, this reporter took pictures of a checkpoint from a taxi. Police stopped the car, opened the door, and demanded the photos be deleted from the phone’s photo storage as well as its recently deleted bin. Photos were still obtained via another means.
Hundreds of Singapore police and auxiliary police guarded the checkpoints, gates, and the interior of the hotel, a few holding rifles.
The heavy security presence was to safeguard a yearly defense conference attended by defense and Foreign Affairs ministers from the region, however, and not for the upcoming summit.
A Singaporean transportation worker said it would make sense to host the summit at the Shangri-La hotel, given its already-heavy security.
But one hotel worker said it only takes two days to set up security for a huge event. At the Shangri-La, tall plants were brought in to obscure some of the lower-floor windows so officials would not be seen walking through them.
Former President Obama has stayed at the hotel twice.
Someone seeking to book a room for one adult between June 11 and June 13 will encounter the following on the hotel’s website: “Rate not available for the dates you have selected.”
The Jade Fullerton Hotel, an ornate Victorian-style hotel with sweeping ceilings and marble floors, was filled with guests in its restaurant and lobby bar. There was no visible security presence at the hotel.
The Post reported that the Jade Fullerton is Kim’s preferred hotel.
The website indicates that there is no room availability between June 11 and June 13. The website reads, “We apologize. There are no available rooms for your requested stay. Please check your dates and try again.”
There is great uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the conference among U.S. officials attending the Shangri-La Dialogue, and Singaporeans alike.
Another Singaporean transportation worker said he was indifferent about whether the summit transpires.
“They are both crazy men!” he joked, referring to Trump and Kim.
But some local businesses are getting in on the summit hype. One bar, according to Voice of America, is serving summit-inspired drinks.
So apparently a Pablo Escobar-themed bar in Singapore is selling Trump-Kim themed cocktails, in celebration of the upcoming summit here. I'll investigate and get back to you all.
— William Gallo (@GalloVOA) June 3, 2018