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.”
Burnish Kim’s reputation
Rodong Sinmun, the country’s most prominent newspaper, featured a banner headline: “Respected Leader Kim Jong Un Met Donald Trump in Historic Meeting at Panmunjom.”
Posting more than 30 photos on its website, KCNA described Kim and Trump’s exchange as having ended an “inglorious relations between the two countries.” It added that the leaders “voiced full understanding and sympathy” for one another.
Talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions had mostly ground to halt after their last meeting in Hanoi in February collapsed without a deal. Trump said Kim wanted too much in sanctions relief and was offering too little in arms reduction to justify the reward.
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 dialogues” for denuclearization.