Trump-Kim summit: Journalists pack media centre to cover historic meeting

ST VIDEO: THAM YUEN-C

SINGAPORE - Anyone stepping into one of the packed rooms at the F1 Pit Building at around 9am on Tuesday (June 12) might think that the World Cup had started two days early, given the palpable excitement in the air with all eyes glued to the televisions.

The building may be some 10km from the Capella Singapore hotel in Sentosa where United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time, but that did not stop the cameras from flashing as journalists, photographers and cameramen scrambled onto tables, chairs and ladders to get a close-up of the live stream on the hanging TVs.

 

The International Media Centre at the pit building was more crowded than it had been over the past two days, with many of the 2,500 journalists registered to cover the event relying on the live feed, as only a limited number of media members were allowed to witness the meeting first-hand at the luxury Sentosa hotel.

In the minutes leading up to the first sighting of the two world leaders together, one of the rooms at the media centre housing about 300 reporters went silent, as many got to their feet and some whipped out their phones to record the historic moment.

As Mr Trump and Mr Kim - who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission - emerged onto the Capella hotel courtyard and shook hands, the room was filled with oohs and aahs as well as camera flashes.

Ms Louis Wei, a journalist with Taiwanese online news media outlet Storm Media Group, said the atmosphere in the room was "very exciting".

"Everyone was close to the TV - the two leaders are unpredictable and there is a sense of uncertainty about the outcome, so no one wants to miss anything," said Ms Wei, 27.

 
 
 
 

"I don't think there will be a specific agreement that comes out of it, but it is a good first step," said Ms Wei, who added that Singapore had organised the event well.

Ms Jo Jeong In, a reporter with South Korean broadcaster KBS, said that watching the 12-second long handshake on the small screen was "emotional".

"It is a historic event, especially for Koreans. I feel very honoured to have seen it - even though we can't access them, we can feel the atmosphere here," she said.

While the men appeared stern-faced during their first pose for the cameras, they emerged from their one-on-one meeting looking happier, which bodes well, said Ms Jo, 37.

"The Korean people are anxious for peace - we hope there will be a good result. I have a good feeling about the outcome, but it will take time."