SINGAPORE - It is important for the world - including Singapore - to help the peace process through a historic summit next Tuesday (June 12) between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
Describing the summit taking place at the Capella Hotel on Singapore's Sentosa tourist island as a "major show of confidence" in the Republic, Mr Shanmugam also explained Singapore's interests in contributing to the peace process during a doorstop interview with reporters on Friday (June 8).
With Singapore seven hours away by flight from the Korean peninsular and about 20 minutes by missiles, any incident in that region will affect the country badly, he added.
"You have a nuclear-capable North Korea. You have American troops in South Korea. And, saying the obvious, the US is a nuclear state,"said Mr Shanmugam.
"You have a stand-off with the United States and DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and you have a nervous South Korea and Japan."
Mr Shanmugam said that any incident during the "period of tension" will be bad for the world, including Asia and Singapore.
"We will be badly affected. Singaporean jobs, trade and investment all could be affected," added the former foreign affairs minister.
With all these at stake, local security forces have been "working around the clock" to ensure a successful summit, he said, adding that "very detailed" plans are in place with thousands of security personnel being deployed and national servicemen recalled.
Mr Shanmugam said that playing host to the meeting is testament to Singapore's standing as a place with "a good diplomatic situation".
He said it "says much" that both nations, with leaders who are high-profile targets and take security very seriously, have agreed on Singapore as the venue.
"They believe that we, Singapore, can provide a safe and secure venue...We are a little red dot, but we are a serious member of the international community," added the minister.
While there has been online chatter showing displeasure in the fact that Singapore is footing the bill for security and logistics of summit, Mr Shanmugam said he believed most Singaporeans understood the importance of the event.
"I think most Singaporeans understand how important this is for Singapore and also the world," he added.
"For the world, it is absolutely good if there is a successful summit. The fact that they have come to speak to each other itself is seen by many as a good thing."
He said that Singapore takes a "no-nonsense approach" to security, and highlighted the incident two days ago where Australian Mr Zeky Mallah, 34, was denied entry on account of his previous terror-related activities.
"He has a terrorism-related background in Australia. He is also said to have been in Syria. We told him he cannot enter Singapore, we put him on a plane back to Australia straightaway," said Mr Shanmugam.
He also touched on the case on Thursday where two South Korean media personnel were arrested for trespassing in a North Korean ambassador's home.
"That is an offence in Singapore, so that is being investigated. We take this sort of things seriously and of course we will put a stop to it and will investigate if people are reported or if we find out,' said Mr Shanmugam.