SINGAPORE: It comes as no surprise to Americans living in Singapore that the Trump-Kim summit, will take place in the city-state next Tuesday (June 12).
Tina Datta, chairman of the local chapter of Republicans Overseas, said that it makes “complete sense” given the "safety and security that Singapore presents".
“One of the things we’re definitely looking forward to is perhaps a peace agreement between North and South because many of us residing in Asia are knowledgeable about the pressures and conflicts that occur in Asia from a historical standpoint. So bringing a resolution to the ongoing conflict in Korea would just bring a sense of peace towards the Northern Asian region,” Ms Datta said.
However, some wonder if the summit will achieve this given the concerns over Trump’s approach to diplomacy.
Singapore-based Democrats Abroad member Patricia Reed said that while the American community is hoping for a “win-win solution”, it will be hard without a full team of experts who understand the area and have experience working with US’ allies.
As an example, she pointed out that the position of US ambassador to Singapore, remains unfilled.
“Trump must recognize that complex, international situations require a strategic and principled approach that is guided by our diplomatic and military experts and involves our key allies. In this regard, it is very helpful that Singapore has stepped in to support the talks,” Ms Reed said.
WATCHING FROM A DISTANCE
While about 30,000 Americans living here will enjoy a courtside seat to the historic event, both local Republican and Democrat chapters, as well as the American Club and American Chamber of Commerce, will not be organising any special activities around the summit.
And unlike the Singapore Korean International School, which is planning to screen the summit, there are no plans by the Singapore American School and Stamford American International School to do so as their students are on summer break.
There will also not be any engagements with the visiting US delegation.
“There’s no time or engagement because this is not a social meeting. It’s completely regarding national security and defense,” said Ms Datta. Meanwhile, they have been following developments closely in a WhatsApp group and sharing their thoughts with one another.
"I can imagine any American, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, have to be happy that this meeting is taking place and hope for the best. Every citizen in Singapore, everybody who is living in Asia should be very full of hope that this level of a meeting is taking place so that progress can be made towards bringing peace to the Koreas," Ms Datta added.
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You can also watch the livestream, and read updates at www.channelnewsasia.com/trumpkimsummit.