Kim Jong Un explores Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands on night before summit

Kim Jong Un explores Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands on night before summit

Kim at Gardens by the Bay
(From left) Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. (Photo: Vivian Balakrishnan/Facebook)

SINGAPORE: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un explored Singapore on Monday night (Jun 11), the day before his historic summit with United States President Donald Trump

The North Korean leader was spotted walking around the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay with his entourage.

Mr Kim was pictured smiling next to Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung in a photo posted on Twitter by Dr Balakrishnan. The trio appeared to be at Gardens by the Bay.

Mr Kim was also seen at the Marina Bay Sands, and appeared to be heading up to the SkyPark. 

His sister Kim Yo Jong was spotted with him.

Kim jong un tours SG 2
Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walking at Marina Bay Sands hotel during a tour in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/KCNA via KNS)

He was also seen at the Jubilee Bridge, which links the Merlion Park and the promenade in front of the Esplanade.

Kim jong un tours SG 3
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un walks on the Jubilee bridge during a tour in Singapore alongside Singapore Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung. (Photo: AFP/KCNA via KNS)

Kim sister at Gardens by the Bay
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and close aide Kim Yo Jong (in white) is seen at the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay.

Kim at MBS 2
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, accompanied by Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, heads to the SkyPark as he visits Marina Bay Sands. 

A flurry of activity was seen outside the St Regis Hotel where Mr Kim is staying as his motorcade left the hotel at around 9pm. His motorcade was seen returning to the hotel about two-and-a-half hours later.

MERE HOURS TO PREPARE

At rooftop bar Ce La Vi, which is located on the observation deck of Marina Bay Sands, general manger Sourav Biswas only had mere hours to prepare for the visit. 

He said he was informed at about 6pm that a “VVIP” would be arriving later in the evening, and guessed that it could be the North Korean leader as they were “the biggest guests in town currently.” 

Security personnel at Ce La Vi waiting for Kim Jong Un's arrival
Police officers on standby at Ce La Vi as they await North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's arrival. (Photo: Ce La Vi)

He said he immediately connected with the MBS security team to find out more about the details of the North Korean leader's itinerary at MBS. 

The establishment has 15 security staff on normal days; it mobilised 10 additional part-time staff for the visit.

“It took about an hour and a half to prepare the logistics for the visit. Then the operations team had to brief the staff and made sure that security personnel were on standby at their respective locations at Ce La Vi,” said Mr Biswas. 

He added that the venue was secured by 8.30pm.

DISCREET SECURITY PREPARATIONS

Channel NewsAsia was at the MBS SkyPark from about 7pm onwards and witnessed how the night unfolded. 

Security staff were seen surveying the observation deck and gathered in quiet conversations from about 7.30pm onwards. 

A guest later told Channel NewsAsia that he had overheard personnel say that Mr Kim would be arriving later, and that access to the deck would cease at 8pm - two hours earlier than usual.

As the crowds thinned out, the remaining guests who only had tickets to the observation deck were asked to leave by about 8.45pm. Thereafter, staff were seen wiping fingerprints off glass panels and railings.

Kim Jong Un, Vivian Balakrishnan and Ong Ye Kung at Ce La Vi
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) with Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on the sky desk outside Ce La Vi at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. (Photo: Ce La Vi)

Diners at Ce La Vi were allowed to stay throughout the night, and there was a palpable buzz as rumors spread among patrons that the North Korean leader would soon be arriving. 

Guests who tried to take photos of security personnel on the observation deck were also stopped by staff who cited a “special security event.”

A diner, 50-year-old Ashok Vasan, said he “couldn’t believe” the rumours in the bar until he saw the increase in security presence. 

“Every now and then, there would be a hush and new groups of people will walk in, and people would think it was (Kim Jong Un). Obviously the anticipation started to build up, and by the time it reached the time he showed up, everyone was excited,” he said.

Calling it “unbelievable”, Mr Vasan added, “(Kim is) probably one of the most important man in the world right now -  on one of the most historic meetings of the century, and he’s right there. I think it’s a special moment,” said Mr Vasan.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump are scheduled to meet at Sentosa's Capella hotel on Tuesday. This will be the first time a sitting US president and a North Korean leader will meet face to face.

Mr Kim met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday at the Istana, where the two discussed bilateral relations.

Source: CNA/nc

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