SINGAPORE: The distance between the Korean Peninsula and Singapore is about seven hours by flight, but only 20 minutes by missiles.
Hence, it is "absolutely" in Singapore's interest to contribute to the peace process by hosting the Trump-Kim summit, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam told the media on Friday (Jun 8).
"You have a nuclear capable North Korea. You have American troops in South Korea. And, saying the obvious, the US is a nuclear state. You have a stand-off with the United States and Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and you have a nervous South Korea and Japan," he said.
"It's a period of tension and you have China which has, obviously, an interest. If there is any incident, it'll be bad for the whole world, in particular Asia. We will be badly affected. Singaporean jobs, trade and investment all could be affected," Mr Shanmugam added.
He added that most Singaporeans understand the importance of the summit even as there are some who are upset that Singapore is footing the bill for the logistical and security arrangements.
Mr Shanmugam also said that being chosen as the host for the summit is a "testament to Singapore's standing". "We're a little red dot, but we're a serious member of the international community," he said.
"It says much that both the DPRK and US have agreed on Singapore (as) both take security very seriously. Their leaders are high profile targets and they believe that we can provide a safe, secure venue," he added.
In terms of the number of security personnel deployed for the summit, Mr Shanmugam said that it's in the "thousands". Operationally-ready National Servicemen have also been recalled to provide security for the event.
In the run-up to the summit, an Australian former terror suspect has been denied entry and two South Korean journalists have been arrested for trespassing. Mr Shanmugam said that this shows Singapore's "no-nonsense approach".
On former terror suspect Zeky Mallah, who was detained and later deported when he tried to enter Singapore on Wednesday, Mr Shanmugam said: "He has a terrorism related background in Australia. He’s also said to have been in Syria. We told him he can't enter Singapore. We put him on a plane back to Australia straightaway."
On the two South Korean journalists who were caught for trespassing the home of the North Korean ambassador, Mr Shanmugam said that Singapore "takes this sorts of things seriously and of course put a stop to it".
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