Trump managed to do what no other US president has ever achieve, in getting North Korea’s president Kim Jong Un to sit down and negotiate the country’s denuclearization.
And now comes the hard part: paying for Kim Jong Un’s hotel in Singapore, the location of the historic June 12 summit.
Because while US event planners are working day and night with their North Korean counterparts to set up a summit designed to bring an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program at an island resort off the coast of Singapore, a rather “awkward” logistical issue has emerged: who’s going to pay for Kim Jong Un’s hotel stay?
As the Washington Post reports, the “prideful but cash-poor pariah state” has demanded that a foreign country foot the bill at its preferred lodging: the Fullerton, “a magnificent neoclassical hotel near the mouth of the Singapore River, where just one presidential suite costs more than $6,000 per night.”
Who pays the room and board emerged as the biggest point of contention ahead of the June 12 summit.
In other words, North Korean dictators beggars can be choosers, and the one who is set to quietly foot the North Korean’s hotel bill is none other than the real estate mogul himself: Donald Trump.
But it may not be so simple, as potential diplomatic complications have emerged associated with paying for Kim’s hotel room, and as the WaPo adds when it comes to paying for lodging at North Korea’s preferred five-star luxury hotel, the United States is open to covering the costs, but it’s mindful that Pyongyang may view a U.S. payment as insulting.
So, in order to avoid offending the pumpkin-faced dictator, U.S. organizers are considering asking Singapore, the host country, to pay for the North Korean delegation’s bill.
Behind the scenes sources suggest the North Korean delegation’s hotel expenses may be billed to one of Trump’s personal international corporations.
“It is an ironic and telling deviation from North Korea’s insistence on being treated on an ‘equal footing,’ ” said Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“These norms were laid in the early 2000s, when Seoul’s so-called sunshine policy took off,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, an expert on Korea at Tufts University, referring to a policy of rapprochement associated with former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung.
“North Korea can build nukes and ICBMs, but claim they are too poor to pay for foreign travel costs.”
This is not the first time the poor communist nation has made bold monetary demands: In 2014, when then-U. S. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. visited North Korea to retrieve two prisoners, his North Korean hosts served him an “elaborate 12-course Korean meal,” the veteran intelligence official said, but then insisted that he pay for it.
And it turns out that figuring out how to pay Pyongyang’s hotel tab could be just the beginning in dealing with the poor country’s logistical problems.
Another problem is that the country’s outdated and underused Soviet-era aircraft will require a landing in China because of concerns it won’t make the 3,000-mile trip, “a visit that would probably require a plausible cover story to avoid embarrassment.”
As for Trump’s own plans, he is expected to stay at the Shangri-La, a 747-room hotel that is accustomed to high-security events, and which hosts the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a security conference that attracts dozens of ministers of defense and state.
Feel free to comment on story below