Singapore is Taylor Swift's only stop in Southeast Asia; PM says deal wasn't a hostile act to neighbors

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Taylor Swift stole nan show astatine an Asian acme Tuesday erstwhile Singapore’s leader defended his mini country’s lucrative performance woody that could origin bad humor pinch neighboring nations.

Singapore is simply a cardinal personnel of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-nation bloc known arsenic ASEAN. Its three-day acme was expected to attraction connected personnel Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis and conflicts successful nan South China Sea.

Instead, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was grilled connected nan summit’s sidelines astir an exclusive woody his city-state struck pinch Swift that prevents nan vocalist from taking her Eras Tour to immoderate different extremity successful Southeast Asia.

Swift is performing six concerts from March 2 to 9 successful Singapore, and immoderate Southeast Asian neighbors kick that nan Singapore woody deprives them of nan tourism roar her concerts bring to hosts. Her Eras Tour shattered records erstwhile it reportedly surpassed $1 cardinal past year, and her film adjustment of nan tour quickly took No. 1 astatine nan container office and became nan highest-grossing performance movie to date.

The Singaporean leader confirmed Tuesday that Swift was provided pinch “certain incentives” successful speech for making Singapore her only Southeast Asian destination connected her Eras Tour.

Lee defended nan woody astatine a associated news convention pinch Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a self-professed Swiftie whose Spotify Wrapped database boasted Taylor Swift arsenic his 2nd astir streamed creator of 2023. Albanese is hosting nan acme successful Melbourne, coinciding pinch nan 50th day of Australia becoming ASEAN’s first outer partner.

Lee did not uncover nan costs of nan exclusive deal, which was paid for from a authorities money established to rebuild tourism aft COVID-19 disruptions. He besides did not straight reply erstwhile asked if he had encountered “bad blood” among different leaders owed to nan deal, alternatively suggesting that if Singapore hadn’t struck an exclusive deal, a neighboring state mightiness person done so.

“It has turned retired to beryllium a very successful arrangement. I don’t spot that arsenic being unfriendly,“ Lee said.

Thailand’s Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, brought attraction to nan woody successful February pinch a nationalist declare that a promoter told him nan Singaporean authorities subsidized nan performance pinch a information that nan creator not play anyplace other successful Southeast Asia.

Srettha said that if he had known astir nan woody before, he was assured he would beryllium capable to propulsion disconnected thing similar.

But Thailand doesn’t clasp it against Singapore, said Prommin Lertsuridej, nan Secretary-General of nan Prime Minister. He told reporters successful a group question and reply Monday that Thailand took what Singapore did arsenic an example, and while Thailand already has immoderate laws successful spot to let specified inducement packages, nan authorities is moving to region reddish portion and make Thailand a much charismatic venue for world events.

“We study from each other,” Prommin said, adding that he admired Singapore for being capable to travel up pinch and execute this “good business idea.”

Lee said that, while he didn’t cognize what Australia’s arrangements were, he expected it likewise made “mutually acceptable, sensible arrangements” pinch Swift erstwhile she performed successful Melbourne and Sydney — 1 of which Australia’s premier curate attended — earlier flying to Singapore.

Swift’s typical did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.

Other questions astatine nan news convention covered increasing tensions successful nan South China Sea, nan humanitarian situation successful Gaza and nan likelihood of China joining successful a location free waste and acquisition pact.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press