Tactical Talk (Update) At least as of Friday, the US-North Korea summit meeting is back on—but who’s going to foot the bill? Especially that darned hotel bill. So the Washington Post is asking in an article about how two teams led by Washington and Pyongyang are hammering out details before the June 12 meeting. Two people familiar with negotiations say the US team is willing to pay for North Korea’s favored lodging, at the five-star Fullerton Hotel near the Singapore River, where the presidential suite alone costs over $6,000 a night. But knowing that cash-strapped North Korea may be insulted by a US payment, Americans are asking Singapore to pay for it.
Yet such payments are nothing new: North Korean athletes and cheerleaders had their travel costs covered to the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang (by the International Olympic Committee and South Korea, respectively) and when former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper dined in North Korea to take back two US prisoners in 2014, he was served an elaborate meal and asked to pay the bill. One issue now is that paying for North Korea’s hotel bill would violate Treasury Department sanctions; the US could seek waivers, but a detailed exemption list might raise eyebrows. On the bright side, the Fullerton does accept cancellations 48 hours ahead of time and the WiFi is free for guests, the New York Post reports.