President Trump has landed in Singapore in preparation for the summit with Kim Jong-un. The North Korean dictator got there first, having already met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The real action will be taking place tomorrow, but the details of how Trump and Kim arrived raise a few interesting questions.
One item to consider is that Kim Jong-un didn’t just come with his aides and security detail. Kim flew in on a Chinese jet rather than his own personal plane. But he was immediately followed by a Russian cargo jet carrying his armored vehicles and, strangely, a private supply of food. (Washington Times)
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un arrived at this island city-state Sunday ahead of a historic summit with President Trump, bringing with him a extensive security force and a private food supply.
Mr. Kim was greeted at the airport by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who tweeted a photo of the welcoming.
After arriving in a Chinese jet, Mr. Kim traveled in a long motorcade though the city to the luxurious St. Regis Hotel that will serve as Mr. Kim’s base during the summit.
I suppose having his own armored vehicle isn’t too unusual. Trump is bringing his own as well, likely at the insistence of the Secret Service. But why is Kim lugging his own food supplies to the hotel? It’s not as if Singapore isn’t stocked with all the great cuisines of the world, all of which will be at the disposal of the two leaders. One other possibility comes to mind and more than a few observers are already suggesting it. Kim may be concerned about security far more than Trump, worrying that somebody will try to take him out while he’s away from his secure base in Pyongyang. And that could include an attempt at poisoning him.
That’s a subject which was rather gingerly brought up by Foster Klug. Given his history and the number of enemies he’s made over the years, Kim is taking a big chance by showing up in the city for the summit.
There’s just no recent precedent for the gamble Kim Jong Un is taking…
Singapore’s The Straits Times reported earlier this month that the Singapore government declared that four black BMW sedans with armored bodies that can withstand gunshots, explosives and grenades were exempt from certain traffic rules through June 30. The newspaper said the vehicles weren’t from a local authorized dealer, which suggests the cars were brought in specifically for the summit and may be used by Kim.
Kim’s bodyguards will certainly travel with him, providing trusted protection to back up local Singapore security that will control the perimeter and crowds, said Choi Kang, vice president of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
One benefit of Singapore from the North Korean point of view is that there will probably not be any anti-North Korea protests during Kim’s stay. “Singapore is like a police state. How can such rallies take place there? Anyone involved in rallies would be arrested,” Choi said.
I’ll confess that it’s tempting to wonder if this entire summit wasn’t some elaborate trap intended to draw Kim out of his bunker and into a bustling urban center where something… unfortunate might happen to him. But that’s more like fodder for a John Grisham novel than any sort of reality. I’m sure the North Koreans are worried by previous comments from John Bolton (and others) about the need for a first strike and decapitating maneuver against North Korea if they continued to test nukes and ICBMs. But at this point, there are too many cameras and too much international security to get away with it. Besides, Trump does seem genuinely interested in cutting a deal to end the war on the Korean Peninsula, get rid of the nukes and demonstrate what a deal-maker he is.
Besides, if anything happened to Kim there would be someone in his place momentarily and the North Koreans would probably be launching an attack on somebody in record time. It would be a disaster for us to simply try to ignore Gerald Ford’s Executive Order 11905 (which is actually kind of shaky to begin with) and take out Kim. But we’re not the only ones with an ax to grind here. Kim and his family have committed grave offenses against plenty of people, starting with his own citizens, some of whom have fled to the west. It’s not exactly a short list of people who might have a vested interest in seeing that he didn’t make it back home.
Hopefully, this is all just pointless fretting over something that can’t realistically happen. The security in Singapore is supposedly wall to wall. It’s an autocratic security state where public freedoms are limited to begin with so their police state can lock the place down. And if something were to happen to Kim it would likely upset global security at a cost far in excess of any satisfaction someone might gain by eliminating him.