Singapore prepares for historic Trump-Kim meeting

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Singapore, June 10 (IANS) Final preparations are underway in Singapore for the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as several hotels have placed impeccable flower arrangements in their lobbies and security checkpoints have started to be set up.

“I am sorry, you cannot pass,” a security guard calmly told reporters attempting to approach the luxurious Capella Hotel, where the historic first meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea will take place on June 12.

The only people allowed into the five-star hotel, located on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, are the staff and guests, as many of the rooms, which can cost up to $10,000 per night, had already been reserved before the White House announced the location of next Tuesday’s summit, Efe reported.

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“We cannot provide any details,” the General Manager of the Capella Hotel, Fernando Gibaja, said regarding preparations for the summit.

“The confidentiality of our guests and their security are our top priority,” he said.

The hotel, made up of four buildings from the British colonial era and a modern wing designed by renowned architect Norman Foster, is surrounded by a lush jungle, which provides privacy to the guests.

Some 10 km north of the Capella Hotel, two other luxury hotels have started to attract media attention, as rumors have circulated that Trump and Kim will be staying there.

In the vicinity of the Shangri-La Hotel, where former US President Barack Obama stayed in 2009, several notices have appeared warning residents that security checkpoints will be set up from Sunday to Thursday.

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According to press reports, this is the hotel chosen by Trump and the US delegation,

Things are not so clear regarding where Kim will be staying.

A North Korean and a US flag were set up at the entrance of the Fullerton Hotel, in downtown Singapore, and some reporters have suggested that this is the place where Kim will be staying, as it is where a delegation from North Korea stayed last week.

Other reporters, however, have suggested that the North Korean leader will be staying in the luxurious Saint Regis Hotel, located less than a kilometer away from the Shangri-La Hotel.

What is certain is that Kim and his delegation are concerned about security, as this will be the North Korean leader’s longest foreign trip since coming to power in 2011.

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If Kim were to stay in the Saint Regis, he will be able to enjoy a vast private art collection, which includes paintings by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, as well as a Fernando Botero sculpture.

It is perhaps no coincidence that the same flower arrangement made up of anthuriums, a tropical red flower, was placed this week in the lobbies of the Saint Regis Hotel and the Shangri-La Hotel.

–IANS

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