North Korea’s capacity for distraction and sleight of hand was on show Sunday as leader Kim Jong Un flew to Singapore for his summit with US President Donald Trump.
Here are some of the interesting facts about Kim Jong Un visit to Singapore:
- Three aircraft made their way to Singapore from Pyongyang airport, a facility that frequently sees fewer than three international flights a day
- One of them was the ageing Soviet-made Ilyushin-62 that is Kim’s personal jet — officially known as “Chammae-1”, or Goshawk-1, after the North’s national bird but perhaps more memorably dubbed “Air Force Un”
- Kim arrived in Air China Boeing 747! According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, it took off using flight number CA122, a standard designation for the airline’s route from Pyongyang to Beijing
- In mid-air it changed its callsign to CA061 and headed south
- In Singapore, its high-profile passenger was met by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with Kim, who wore a dark lapel-less suit
- Kim was driven into the city-state in a convoy of more than 20 vehicles, including an ambulance, with North Korean television cameramen filming his progress through the sunroofs
- Hundreds of Singaporeans lined the streets to capture images of their own of his black Mercedes Benz stretch limousine with tinted windows — not normally allowed in Singapore, even for the country’s prime minister
- Aside from three official photographs released by the Singapore government, there had been no public sighting of Kim nearly two hours after he landed
How Much Singapore Spending on Kim Jong Un & Trump Summit?
- Kim is all set to say at the modernist St Regis which is located just off Singapore’s diplomatic district and a stone’s throw away from the Orchard Road shopping belt
- Rooms at the establishment start at Sg$320 ($240) a night
- On the 20th floor, the ostentatiously opulent 335-square metre (3,606 square feet) Presidential Suite, where Kim was believed likely to stay, features a Marc Chagall artwork and a white baby grand piano
- Its rooms are “lined with gold, and accented with precious metals like brass, onyx and silver”, the hotel says on its website
- It does not give prices but the list price of a similar facility in New York is $35,000 a night
- Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Sunday his government was spending around Sg$20 million to host the summit, around half of it on security. “It’s a cost that we are willing to pay. It’s our contribution to an international endeavour which is in our profound interests,” he said.