How North Korea is portraying Kim Jong Un's historic summit with Trump

Written by on June 13, 2018

iStock/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — The portrayal of Tuesday’s historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is following predictable patterns in the U.S., often falling along party lines. But how is it playing out inside Kim’s kingdom?

All of the media, limited as it may be, in North Korea is controlled by the state. It is, of course, therefore an entirely positive review of the summit and the results.

North Korea’s newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, featured a series of pictures of Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands and standing side by side on its front page on Wednesday. The headline reads, “A summit meeting of the century that pioneered a new history in DPRK-US relations,” with a subheadline of “A joint statement adopted.”

Overall, the paper reads as if complete denuclearization was not a major issue. The article was written in chronological order, describing the day of the summit with plenty of praise for Kim’s greatness and how well they got along.

The article mentions “denuclearization” — without the word “complete” — only once, in a paragraph buried in context.

“Our dear great leader said many problems arose from deep-rooted mistrust and hostility that exists between the two countries, and in order to realize peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization, both countries should promise to have understanding of and not be hostile to each other, and must establish legal, systematical measures that would assure such.”

The article ran across four pages out of the six-page newspaper with 33 color photos from the summit.

North Korean TV’s most famous newsreader, Ri Chun Hee, also known as the “Pink Lady,” announced the results of the Trump-Kim summit on Wednesday at 4 a.m. ET, specifically highlighting Trump’s “intention to halt the U.S.–South Korea joint military exercises” and “offer security guarantees to the DPRK and lift sanctions against it as mutual relations improve.”

Details about sanctions being lifted is unclear, as Trump specifically said they would not be lifted in a press conference following the summit.

“They share the same heritage, language, customs, culture and destiny, but to realize their amazing destiny, to reunite their national family, the menace of nuclear weapons will now be removed,” Trump said of the Korean Peninsula. “In the meantime, the sanctions will remain in effect. We dream of a future where all Koreans can live together in harmony, where families are reunited and hopes are reborn, and where the light of peace chases away the darkness of war.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the same thing to reporters on Tuesday, “This signed agreement has occurred with no relief from sanctions.”

Trump hailed the summit as a tremendous success in the hours after he departed Singapore on Tuesday. He tweeted thanks to Kim from Air Force One multiple times for the summit, which he called unprecedented and historic. Trump landed back in Washington just after 5 a.m. Wednesday.

“The World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe! No more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research! The hostages are back home with their families,” he tweeted. “Thank you to Chairman Kim, our day together was historic!”

Trump and Kim signed a document pledging that North Korea would take steps to denuclearize, while Trump also said he would be ending military exercises in South Korea. Both leaders invited each other to visit their respective capitals in the future.

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