July 01, 2019

North Korea Media Goes Crazy for Trumps Border Meeting With Kim
(Bloomberg) -- North Korean state media released gushing reports of Kim Jong Un’s Demilitarized Zone summit with President Donald Trump, as the regime sought to use another history-making meeting with the U.S. leader to validate its policy decisions.The front page of North Korea‘s ruling party Rodong Sinmun newspaper was dominated by a seven-photo splash of Trump making the first crossing of any sitting U.S. president into North Korea, while the country’s main KCNA news agency said the meeting marked a “dramatic turn” of events.Kim has not been able to win relief from sanctions choking his country’s paltry economy after starting his historic meetings with the U.S. president last year in Singapore. At their hour-long DMZ summit on Sunday, Kim and Trump agreed to resume talks and said working-level officials from the two countries will soon start discussions on the details of a disarmament deal.KCNA quoted the North Korean leader as saying that “good personal relations” with Trump made the meeting possible even at a day’s notice, and wrote that “relations would continue to produce good results unpredictable by others and work as a mysterious force overcoming manifold difficulties and obstacles in the future, too.”The coverage was far more robust than state media’s reporting on the collapsed summit between Trump and Kim in February where it glossed over Trump calling off the talks and complaining that Kim asked for too much in sanctions relief while providing too little disarmament to justify the reward.‘Respected Leader’Rodong Sinmun, the country’s most prominent newspaper, featured a banner headline on Monday reading: “Respected Leader Kim Jong Un Met Donald Trump in Historic Meeting at Panmunjom.” Photos of the two taking their historic walk and holding talks were splashed over the first three pages while South Korean President Moon Jae-in, also on hand to share moments with Trump and Kim, was conspicuously absent in the image collage.Posting more than 30 photos on its website, KCNA described Kim and Trump’s exchange as having ended “inglorious relations between the two countries.” It added that the leaders “voiced full understanding and sympathy” for one another.“DPRK media has stressed in recent weeks that Kim is capable of dealing with the world’s ‘great powers’ on an equal footing,” said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a Seoul-based analyst with NK Pro. “The photos appear designed to stress the Trump-Kim bond and DPRK-US relations, which is in line with the text of the report.”The leader of the traditionally reclusive state has been busy on the diplomatic stage in recent months, holding summits with traditional allies China and Russia to seek support for sanctions relief in his dealings with Trump.The tenor of his reign has differed from his father’s “military first” guiding policy principle to one where the young leader has tried to grow the economy and the military in parallel. But the approach poses risks of upsetting the military and the masses if he cannot deliver on his pledges.Talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions had mostly ground to halt after the last met Trump meeting in Hanoi. Since then, North Korea put a year-end deadline for a better offer from Trump and reminded the region of the threat it poses by test-firing in May what weapons experts said was a new missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to almost all of South Korea.Absent progress toward a deal, Trump’s repeated meetings with Kim may burnish the dictator’s reputation at home. Analysts say Trump risks creating the impression that the U.S. has accepted North Korea’s defacto status as a nuclear-weapons state.KCNA said that the two leaders “expressed great satisfaction over the results of the talks,” and that they agreed to “resume and push forward productive dialogue” for denuclearization.(Adds details on previous summit in fifth paragraph, analysts comment in eighth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Jon Herskovitz, Peter PaeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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