North Korea’s state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, covered its Tuesday edition – published before the summit with U.S. President Donald Trump – with photos of dictator Kim Jong-un touring urban Singapore, showing North Korean citizens an inside look into the developed world they are banned from visiting.
The newspaper’s Tuesday front page featured not just photos of Kim touring Singapore, but wide shots of the city’s impressive skyline, as well as locals reaching out for a photo of the historic moment.
Today's front page of the Rodong Sinmun in Pyongyang showing Kim Jong Un's inspection tour of Singapore. pic.twitter.com/mlD0kwqsft
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) June 12, 2018
A conductor in the Pyongyang metro puts up the latest edition of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore for commuters to read
📷Ed Jones @edwardesjones pic.twitter.com/jDtQfC5X4I
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 12, 2018
Kim lavished praise on Singapore in the Rodong Sinmun article. “He said Singapore is clean and beautiful and every building is stylish as he heard of in the past, adding he is going to learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future,” the newspaper claimed. Kim had invited the Singaporean foreign minister to Pyongyang last week in anticipation of this week’s summit. The island nation was chosen as a venue due to its unusual position of maintaining friendly relations with both countries.
Rodong Sinmun publishes every morning, while the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) posts articles on a regular basis. No edition of Rodong Sinmun has been published since Kim met Trump for a day-long meeting regarding denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, nor has KCNA posted any articles about it, meaning North Korean citizens do not know if the two leaders met or not.
The publication of photos of Kim in Singapore, however, occurred the day after he took his tour, significantly faster than the speed with which North Koreans typically hear of news happening outside their borders. North Korea does not allow for any media not controlled by the government to operate in the country.
The publication of Singapore tour news followed the pattern established the day before, when Rodong Sinmun published photos of Kim Jong-un leaving North Korea and admitted that he would fly to the country on a Chinese plane. Kim’s Soviet-era plane would likely have needed to stop in China to refuel and risked not being able to make the full trip to Singapore.
KCNA confirmed to readers then that “the historic first summit meeting and talks between Kim Jong Un, the respected Supreme Leader of the party, the state and the army of the DPRK, and Donald J. Trump, president of the United States of America, are to be held on the morning of June 12.”
At the summit, President Trump signed a joint declaration with Kim where the two promised to work towards four goals: to “establish new U.S. – DPRK relations,” to “join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” North Korea agreed to work towards “complete denuclearization,” and both sides agreed to repatriating the remains of soldiers lost during the active period of the Korean War. It remains to be seen whether North Korean state media will publish the joint declaration; it did publish the similar Panmunjom Declaration signed by Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.