SINGAPORE: Singapore’s national brand is set to benefit from the historic first meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as the city-state hosts one of its biggest ever international media events.

Branding experts have labelled the opportunity “priceless” for Singapore’s international brand – not just as a diplomatic player, but as a tourism and travel destination. The jewel in Singapore’s tourism crown, Sentosa Island, will be the location of the historic meeting on Tuesday morning, local time.

The country’s government was approached to host the summit as a neutral location which has long-standing diplomatic relationships with both the United States and North Korea.

In a press conference with local media at the weekend, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong estimated the total cost of Singapore’s investment into hosting the historic meeting at around S$20 million (approx US$15 million) but he expected some of the cost would be recouped. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan later confirmed that Singapore also footed the bill for Kim Jong-un’s luxury hotel accommodation.

Lee noted the positive impact the global publicity will have. He said that the event will show what Singapore can do on the international stage and that Singapore is “happy to be associated with it”.

At the International Media Centre associated with the summit, visiting journalists were also offered the opportunity to attend ‘learning sessions’ to get more information about Singapore’s housing, water, greenery policies, as well as community and maritime history to include in their stories.

But social media users expressed surprise and unease at an op-ed in Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper at the weekend, which offered a “guide to behaving when the world is watching”.

Local Singaporeans were encouraged to only share “uplifting, inspiring stories and videos about Singapore” and not “like or share articles that diss the government or Singapore”, and to keep Facebook walls and Instagram feeds “positive and glowing” while international media were in town.

The meeting between Trump and Kim, which is being held at the Capella Hotel on the Sentosa Island, will begin at 9.00am today.

Sourced from WARC