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Tuesday 23 October 2018

Coconut, chicken and spice on menu for massive media contingent

The media centre is part of Singapore’s £11 million bill for the summit, the bulk of which is going on security.

Journalists watch a live telecast of Donald Trump’s meeting with Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong (Wong Maye-E/AP)
Journalists watch a live telecast of Donald Trump’s meeting with Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong (Wong Maye-E/AP)

By Annabelle Liang, Associated Press

The tiny city-state of Singapore is hosting its largest media contingent ever for the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

They will be well fed, if nothing else.

A sprawling 2,100 square-metre (23,000sq ft) facility built for an annual Formula One race has been refurbished to handle about 3,000 journalists expected to cover Tuesday’s summit.

It is a good distance from the summit venue, and intrepid journalists are likely move out of the media centre and try to get closer to the action.

Hundreds of journalists gathered outside the hotels where Mr Trump and Mr Kim are staying and along the streets to capture their arrivals on Sunday.

The police, though, have stepped up checks and surveillance in designated “special event areas” around the Capella Singapore hotel, where the summit will be held, and the leaders’ temporary residences, Mr Kim’s St Regis Singapore and Mr Trump’s Shangri-La Hotel.

The media centre is part of Singapore’s £11 million bill for the summit, the bulk of which is going on security.

And then there’s the food.

Singapore, arguably the food capital of Asia, is treating journalists to a spread of more than 20 local and international favourites at meal times.

There are quintessential Singaporean dishes, such as toast with a coconut and egg jam, chicken-rice, and thick vermicelli in a spicy broth made with dried shrimp.

Chia Chi Wei, a journalist from Taiwan and first-time visitor to Singapore, tried the famous chicken-rice during a break: “I heard so much about it. It was very delicious.”

The Common Good Company, a group of local restaurants, is offering ice cream made with kimchi, a spicy Korean staple.

“I cannot remember an event that is as historic, as big, as global,” said its director Wong Peck Lin.

“What event is there in our history that has as many journalists from around the world all trained on Singapore?”

Belgian journalist Tom Van de Weghe arrived in the media centre, luggage in hand, after a 30-hour journey.

“The food is amazing. Who is paying for all this?” he said.

“It wouldn’t be Kim Jong Un, it wouldn’t be Trump, because they don’t want to spend money. But it’s the Singapore government, so thank you.”

Press Association

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