The unprecedented security for 'god-like' Kim's meeting with Trump

  • 10/06/2018

Denuclearisation of North Korea is the headline topic at the summit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, but for North Korean officials travelling to Singapore, their top priority is much narrower: protecting their leader.

Security for Kim Jong Un at his first meeting with Trump is expected to be ultra-tight, with measures likely surpassing those seen at the April 27 inter-Korean summit, experts and analysts say.

In late April, 12 lanky male bodyguards made international headlines after they surrounded Kim Jong Un's Mercedes-Benz vehicle and jogged alongside it whenever the North Korean leader moved across the border.

"As the venue and time of the summit have already been announced, security for Kim Jong Un will be tighter than for any other VIPs," said Kim Doo-hyun, professor of protection politics at Korea National Sport University.

In addition to using bulletproof vehicles, North Korea's security detail would likely deploy layers of protection surrounding the summit venue and try to divert attention from Kim Jong Un's car whenever he moves.

"We'll most likely see an unprecedented scale of protection on land, sea and air as this summit is the biggest issue in the world right now," said Chae Kyou-chir, chief executive of Top Guard, a prominent South Korean security and protection firm.

"Kim Jong Un is revered as a god-like being in his country, while outside the North, he's been subject to hostility because of the way his regime is run, and that's enough to always cause safety concerns for his officials," said Chae.

The North Korean leader is also likely to be served food prepared by a travelling chef from the North, Chae added.

In April, North Korean security staff meticulously wiped down with disinfectant the chair Kim Jong Un would be sitting in while signing the visitor's book at the Peace House within the border village of Panmunjom in April.

They did the same for the visitor's book and the pen, the latter of which Kim did not use.

Other security personnel were spotted using equipment to sweep the room for explosives or recording devices.

"We might see a similar scale of security personnel from North Korea and safety protocols as we did in April, but they'll also have help from Singapore like special vehicles and agents," said Cho Seong-ryoul, senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy.

Singapore airspace will be restricted during the summit, according to a notice to airmen posted by aviation authorities, which is likely to result in delays at one of Asia's busiest airports.