North Korea’s state media outlets, which have remained largely silent on talks for an in-person meeting between communist dictator Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, did not disclose on Wednesday the news that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met Kim personally in Pyongyang.
Pompeo, who Trump nominated to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, reportedly met with Kim over Easter weekend to lay the groundwork for Kim’s meeting with the president. Yet North Korea’s government-controlled media – the only media in the country – have yet to report that Kim and Trump are preparing a meeting at all.
On Wednesday, the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun instead published its usual communist propaganda. In an article titled “Let Us Glorify Socialist Country of Juche, Patriotic Heritage of President Kim Il Sung,” the newspaper urges the nation to vigorously embrace the “self-reliance” (juche) ideology that has led it to repression, starvation, and decades of unfathomable state violence. In honor of founder Kim Il-sung’s birthday (“when the sun of juche rose”), Rodong suggested that Koreans “glorify their socialist country as the country of the President forever by conveying his benevolence generation after generation.”
North Korea “is enjoying only victories and glory century after century as there is the heritage associated with the whole patriotic life of the great leader,” the article asserts. “Our socialist country in which the people’s beautiful dream and idea come true is the crystal of warm loving care shown by the President for the people.”
In other articles, Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a sort of newswire service run by the regime, boast of their ties to other communist and socialist dictatorships, like Cuba and Venezuela. The outlets also report on Kim Jong-un’s recent meetings with Chinese leaders.
This week, Kim met with Song Tao, identified as “head of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.” Song was in Pyongyang with a Chinese art troupe sent as a gesture of diplomatic goodwill to perform for Kim. Kim threw a dinner party for Song and the Chinese delegation, which KCNA reports “proceeded in an intimate and amicable atmosphere as it took place together with Chinese comrades who came into genuine feelings and became more familiar with Korean people.”
The absence of any news regarding Kim’s upcoming meeting with Trump, which the U.S. president suggested will likely occur in early June, means that the North Korean people do not know that Kim is planning an unprecedented encounter with the man his regime regularly vilifies as the head of an evil capitalist empire.
It also means that North Koreans do not know that Kim welcomed American officials into his midst this month. Reports revealed on Tuesday that Pompeo visited Pyongyang on Easter weekend and met with Kim in a secret visit. According to Trump, Pompeo’s visit “went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed.” Trump also said Tuesday that the list of settings his meeting with Kim has been narrowed down to five locations, although he did not disclose who the candidates are.
While North Korea may have been receptive to Pompeo, reports indicate Kim’s regime is not yet in a position to fully trust Washington. South Korea’s conservative-leaning Chosun Ilbo reports Wednesday that Trump’s decision to conduct airstrikes against North Korean ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria has given Pyongyang “the jitters” and triggered “heavy pressure” on Kim to toe the line on behavior that violates international law and may prompt a similar military response.
North Korea is one of the world’s most prolific international law violators, regularly repressing the human rights of its people and running an illegal nuclear weapons program.
Before Kim meets Trump, he will have to go through Moon Jae-in, the leftist president of South Korea. Moon and Kim are scheduled to meet in a Korean border town on the south side on April 27. There, reports in South Korean media indicate, the two sides will attempt to sign a peace agreement. The Korean war technically never ended, as neither side surrendered or signed an accord.