USA – DPRK Summit
President Donald Trump and President Kim Jong Un has apparently agreed to hold their historic meeting in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
It does not matter which camp you support in the political arena, there comes a time when we should close rank and rise up, in the words of the Singapore Pledge, “as one united people.”
This is the time for us to take pride in this achievement and join hands to make the Summit a success.
The global spotlights will be on our shining little red dots.
We will have many foreign guests on our shores before, during and after the Summit.
Let us show the world our beautiful country in all its awe and wonder.
Put on our best behavior to be a great host and offer our guests a great and memorable time on our pearly shores.
Years ago, I did a keynote speech for a global economic forum and there were many foreigners from different countries among the audience.
It was sad to hear from some of the foreign guests that they have heard many a negative remark about Singapore from fellow Singaporeans.
I’m sure, some of them left with a less-than-favorable impression of our country.
We should be proud that Singapore has been chosen as the venue for the Sumit.
Every country seeks to be sought after as an ally, and to be trusted and respected as a friend.
Such soft power can be more powerful than military and other powers to strengthen trade and commerce.
It can also help us improve our geopolitical and other influences, attract foreign direct investments, including private investments, and improve our tourist trade.
If we host the Summit, it will help position Singapore as one of the major hubs for global affairs, and especially in terms of developing peacemakers and strengthening peace-making processes.
It will put us in a good position for stronger growth and a brighter future.
Some of the distinctive strengths that we can bring to the table are our objective, neutral and balanced foreign policies, and proactive initiatives in building positive bilateral and multilateral relationships.
We are a relatively educated, matured and culturally-sensitive populace that has a healthy respect for the rule of law.
Singapore is also a relatively safe and secure country.
Safety and security is one of the most important factors in organizing high level Summits.
Years ago, my company – arguably the largest seminar organiser in the world – had the honor to invite President Bill Clinton to deliver a talk in SIngapore. That was his first trip to Singapore.
We have also hosted General Stormin’ Norman to share his leadership experience in Singapore after the Gulf War.
We have therefore 2-Satoshi worth of experience in making security arrangements.
We can say with pride and confidence that Singapore has a strong, safe and secure environment to protect both locals and foreigners.
Unlike many countries, we don’t have a history of military coups.
We don’t have a few “camps” of armed forces disliking and politicking against each other.
There are also no underground insurgents, religious rebel forces, or internal terrorist groups like those found in some communities overseas.
Our country has deep experiences in protecting VVIPs.
We have ex-military leaders that can be mobilized and deployed for added protection, a plus factor over many countries.
And if you study closely Singapore’s master plan.
Our authorities have designed our country to provide a good quality of life.
Just as importantly, they have also developed our country in preparation for a potential war.
Our fortress-like country gives great security assurance and comfort to VVIPs.
Moreover, over the years, we have built a positive relationship with both the USA and DPRK at different levels.
Many may not know that SIngapore has a positive and reasonably active bilateral relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
After establishing diplomatic relationship with DPRK in 1975, there were many positive bilateral engagements and exchanges.
Many of their senior officials often visit us and were trained by our non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on economic development, law and governance.
We have also trained many of their entrepreneurs on the Singapore-style of doing business, whatever that means to them.
Our humanitarian organizations such as Mercy Relief have provided crisis relief assistance and other resources to them.
Judging from various engagements with DPRK, their leaders generally have a healthy respect for Singapore.
I was told that when our local chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) once conducted a trade mission there, they were given a warm and friendly welcome and positive accords.
At many DPRK’s supermarkets, they import a fair bit of consumer products from Singapore, including vices such as beer and cigarettes and other consumer products.
Singapore is also one of the preferred destinations for many North Koreans for medical treatments.
Somehow, I get this feeling they love the Singapore’s style of strong, clean and rules-based governance and want to learn from us how to run their country with relatively good success.
On our side, I believe we are laying ground work for a stronger trading relationship with DPRK, especially when it decides to eventually liberalize and open its economic doors.
Let each and every one of us do our part to make this forthcoming Summit a great success and put Singapore once again on the world map for everything great and beautiful.
I hope this message will find a place in your heart.
By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.
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