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US-North Korea Summit: The venue playing host, Sentosa Island, is a paradise with dark past, historical significance

The stage is set for a historic meeting between the President of United States of America Donald Trump and the supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un in Singapore's Sentosa Island on Tuesday.

The first-ever meeting between the two prominent leaders will be held at a luxury resort on the island which is learnt to have had a very brutal past.

Billed among Singapore’s top holiday resorts, Sentosa Island draws around 20 million visitors every year. According to a report, the island’s name translates to 'peace and tranquillity' and as it’s only accessible through a bridge which links it to the mainland.

 US-North Korea Summit: The venue playing host, Sentosa Island, is a paradise with dark past, historical significance

Representational image. Reuters

However, a few decades ago, the island was called 'Pulau Belakang Mati' — which means 'island of death from behind', the report states.

According to the report, one of the theories behind the island's dark past suggests that the old name is derived from Sentosa’s former association with piracy. The tropical island which is spread over 500 hectares was reportedly a popular pirate hideaway.

Another theory speaks of the island being the ‘paradise of warrior spirits’ whose bodies were entombed at another island nearby island called, Pulau Brani, the National Library Board of Singapore was quoted as saying.

However, as per the report, many believe that the name refers to a deadly disease that swept the island in the late 1840s and came close to wiping out its entire population. The island also has a history with World War II.

After the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese forces in 1942, Sentosa was turned into a brutal camp for Australian and British prisoners of war. It also became a killing field for Singaporean Chinese people who, during the Japanese occupation, were accused of anti-Japanese activities and thus were executed.

Fort Siloso, a major attraction in Sentosa, was used during the war to guard against approaches to Singapore. Its guns, ammunition bunkers and tunnels are on display alongside Singapore’s biggest collection of WWII memorabilia.

It was only in 1970, that the Singaporean government developed the island as a tourist destination and gave it its current name. And now the island is synonymous with leisure activities, shopping arcades and a luxury escapade, overall. Not just that, it is also home to some of Singapore’s richest people, with the waterfront villas priced at up to $39 million!

The summit is scheduled to be held at the five-star Capella hotel which incorporates two colonial buildings that housed British officers in the 1880s. According to The Star's report, it was bought by the Kwee family in 2017 whose budding hotel empire has ties to the Ritz-Carlton chain, which is a rival to the Trump Organization in Manhattan.

Coming back to the island venue, Sentosa’s beaches aren't natural and most of them are made with reclaimed land and sand shipped-in from Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

It’s no surprise that Donald Trump would choose a location with golf courses, and there are two here—The Serapong, and The New Tanjong course—reports Major tournaments are often held at the Sentosa Golf Club, which opened in 1974 and has apparently been voted the best course in southeast Asia, as per the report.

Thus, all-in-all, as the world waits for this historic summit to take place, here's hoping Sentosa makes history for all the right reasons this time.

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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 08:18:34 IST