Minister Vivian Balakrishnan: We are no-nonsense but efficient people
Embarrassing himself at an interview with BBC, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan poured praises for his ruling party government:
"I think over the weeks that they spent with us, they gained greater confidence that we are sort of no-nonsense but efficient people. We are good for our word, we are meticulous, we pay attention to details – every smallest detail. All that I think gave them confidence that this was the right site, the right choice. Because what you want is a conducive site so that their minds are clear to focus on the substantive negotiations."
The PAP Minister also defended the S$20 million tax levied on Singaporeans, claiming that the "reputational benefits outweigh the cost":
"We did not put up our hand and volunteer for it. So we were informed after the fact. Singapore could not say no to playing host to the historic event. It would inevitably involve South-east Asia and Singaporeans...It is an investment in world peace, and we can pull this off with no hitches…or even if things don’t go exactly to plan, the way we respond to it, the reputational benefits that will accrue to Singapore will far outweigh those costs. The primary point is not about the money. It’s about securing peace, opportunity for development."
The S$20 million bill has been controversial among Singaporeans, with criticisms over the "generosity" at a time of growing debt. According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, S$10 million was spent on round-the-clock security and S$5 million was spent to accommodate international reporters. The Singapore government is currently in debt and borrowing from state-owned companies to finance it's Budget.
When questioned by the BBC reporter if Kim Jong Un chose Singapore because there is no protest allowed, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan denied so:
"I don’t think it was about protests, I think it was about security. They know that we can provide their security. And quite frankly, I mean, the same consideration applies for President Trump."
In an announcement today (Jun 13), Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un released a joint statement promising denuclearisation at North Korea and regional peace.