The Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore: Go or no-go?
In the span of a day (24 May 2018), Trump cancelled the summit that was supposed to be held in Singapore and then later on made a statement that leaves the open possibility that the summit may still happen (on the exact same day).
With the unpredictable leader (or leaders!) who has previously pulled the plug on international conferences such as the Paris Climate Agreement, his withdrawal is not unsurprising. These negotiation tactics that they are playing on one another may be a test of the sincerity to solve the long-drawn problems... But, at what costs?
It isn't just the United States of America or North Korea that is affected by this summit. Our small island, Singapore, has now got to play along with their games.
The two hotels that were named to be the likely venue for the summit - Shangri-la and Marina Bay Sands - have initially "taken back" rooms from various travel operators to reserve them for the hike in occupancies during the summit. However, because of the cancellation, they then returned it to the various agencies. This flip-flop has caused some confusion and uncertainties of the hotel industry as to whether or not the summit would eventually be held.
To host foreign journalists, Singapore has already started its accreditation process but it has now come to a halt because of the cancellation. Besides that, many security personnel's leaves were initially frozen to ensure that there were sufficient staff allocated for the summit. Now, they were released back to the respective staff. That being said, preparations for the summit continue to take place as Singapore had to make plans to accommodate Kim's personal Ilyushin62M jet.
Some travellers (like me) hate crowds and the increased levels of security measures may mean longer waiting times through immigration and when visiting the notable tourist attractions. As such, they may choose to avoid heading to Singapore during that period. Yet, other travellers may choose to head to Singapore during this period of time just to catch a glimpse or just being in the same timezone and space as the two leaders. What then will travellers do? Make changes to their plans? Or simply go ahead with what they have made reservations for?
4. South Korea
While Singapore takes the hit, possibly economically, the effects were more severe in South Korea. As possibly the main concerning party of the talks, many South Koreans were upset with the cancellation as they see it as a failure to mediate the North-South Korea relationship and reconciliation.
Just hours before, Trump and Kim seems to still be having their summit in Singapore as planned after the North and South Koreans' secret summit... Still, skeptics are not sanguine about the summit as these usually takes months of planning (not weeks)...
Will you be visiting Singapore during that period of time? What is your view of the situation?