Trump-Kim Singapore summit: Keeping the leaders safe

Stage set for massive security operation

Steps to counter chemical terror threats; SAF, Home Team and auxiliary cops to be deployed

Singapore is likely to carry out one of its biggest security operations for the historic United States-North Korea summit on Tuesday involving Home Team agencies, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and auxiliary police.

Dr Graham Ong-Webb of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, who made the observation, said the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, will see Singapore at the "peak of security".

 

Given Singapore's reputation for its tight security and experience in hosting large-scale political events, he added: "We have the muscle memory and existing resources for this."

While the Singapore Police Force has not provided details of the number of personnel activated for the summit, leave for all officers has been frozen.

In 2006, police staged a large-scale security operation during the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting held here. Regular and auxiliary police officers, along with some 23,000 national servicemen, were deployed. Security then was beefed up by SAF personnel as well as officers from the Gurkha Contingent and Volunteer Special Constabulary.

For the US-North Korea summit, police announced yesterday that strict security measures will be enforced from June 10 to 14, especially in the Tanglin area and Sentosa.

While the summit is to take place at Capella Singapore on Sentosa, observers say that Mr Trump is likely to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, and Mr Kim at The St Regis Singapore.

Both are in the Tanglin area.

 
 
 
 

People, vehicles and vessels entering the "special event areas" may be subject to bag and body checks, while items such as flags, banners and flammable materials will not be allowed. A "special zone", where checks will be even stricter, has been marked within each area.

On Sentosa, the Capella Singapore is located within this smaller zone. And within the Tanglin area, Shangri-La and St Regis hotels sit within the zone.

Yesterday, visitors to Capella without official business were denied entry by employees stationed at the hotel entrance.

Senior Assistant Commissioner How Kwang Hwee, the police's operations director, said yesterday that the police have been working closely with advance security teams of both countries to develop and put in place plans for the summit. There will be more boots on the ground and around summit areas, with the police, Home Team agencies, Singapore Armed Forces and auxiliary police being deployed.

The Straits Times understands that the authorities also have measures in place for chemical terrorism threats.

The Singapore aviation authorities have also issued a notice to airlines and pilots that airspace over the Republic will be temporarily restricted from June 11 to 13. Travellers are advised to expect delays for flights arriving at and departing from Singapore during this period "for reasons of national security".

Dr Ong-Webb, who has a background in security consultancy, said: "This is an unprecedented meeting. It has been talked about for decades, having a sitting US president and the leader of North Korea meet face-to-face."

• Additional reporting by Karamjit Kaur

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Stage set for massive security operation'. Print Edition | Subscribe