Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan Will Be In Pyongyang From Thursday; First Official Singapore Trip To Hermit State In 10 Years

It has been 10 years since a Singaporean Foreign Minister has landed in Pyongyang.

The last time was in May 2008, when then-Foreign Minister George Yeo visited North Korea.

Mr Yeo was accompanied by his wife and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A decade later, that trip is taking place again, albeit with a new set of characters and under very different circumstances.

From Thursday (7 Jun), current Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will be in Pyongyang at the invitation of his North Korean counterpart.

During his visit, Dr Balakrishnan will call on President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong Nam.

The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly refers to North Korea’s unicameral legislature, i.e. its Parliament.

Who’s the equivalent of Mr Kim Yong Nam in Singapore? Likely Speaker of the House Mr Tan Chuan-Jin.

Will they meet Kim Jong-un?

It is unclear if the Singaporean delegation will be granted an audience with the Kim of the hour: Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Dr Balakrishnan’s visit comes days before Singapore hosts a historic summit between North Korea and the United States next week.

Details of that visit are gradually trickling in, including its venue.

Officials confirmed that the Capella Hotel on Sentosa will host the meeting between the two countries’ unpredictable leaders.

It is unclear if Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be involved at all, but chances are, he will hold a state dinner for Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

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