It may be a day late, but North Koreans finally got news Wednesday of the historic summit between their leader, Kim Jong Un, and US President Donald Trump.
The country’s famous anchor Ri Chun Hee, known as the “pink lady” for bright outfits, told North Koreans of the news in her usual melodramatic manner.
“Thanks to the fixed decision and will of the top leaders of the two countries to put an end to the extreme hostile relations between the DPRK and the US – which lingered for the longest period on the earth in terms of acute confrontation – and to open up a new future for the sake of the interests of the peoples of the two countries and global peace and security, the first DPRK-US summit was held,” she said, using an acronym for her country.
North Korean media, tightly controlled by the state, usually refrains from reporting on Kim’s immediate diplomatic moves and typically delivers news of major events the day after they happen.
Other state media outlets provided a breakdown of the day’s events, calling the talks “epoch-making,” and lavishing praise on Trump’s “enthusiasm to resolve matters in a realistic way through dialogue and negotiations.”
The front page of the state newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, splashed photos of the two leaders, under the headline: “A meeting of the century that opened a new era in history of North Korea-US relations.”
In its first report on the summit, the official KCNA news agency on Wednesday attributed the apparent breakthrough in relations to Kim’s “proactive peace-loving measures” earlier in the year, and applauded Trump’s willingness to negotiate despite longstanding hostility between the two countries.
Trump and Kim met on the Singaporean resort island of Sentosa on Tuesday – the first time a sitting US President has met with the leader of the reclusive state.
A joint statement signed by the two leaders committed to “establish new US-DPRK relations,” reaffirming Kim’s “firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and offering security guarantees to Pyongyang.
The KCNA report stated that the two leaders shared their “opinions about the practical measures that are important to accomplish peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and finish the hostility between North Korea and the US.”
It was a far cry from September last year, when KCNA published a statement authored by Kim describing the US President as “mentally deranged.”
Wednesday’s KCNA report made special mention of Trump’s apparent readiness to halt US-South Korean military drills, a declaration that apparently took Seoul and Tokyo – as well as at least some corners of the Pentagon – by surprise.
“Trump expressed his intention to halt the US-South Korea joint military exercises, which the DPRK side regards as provocation, over a period of good-will dialogue between the DPRK and the US, offer security guarantees to the DPRK and lift sanctions against it,” read the report, suggesting this would be facilitated “through dialogue and negotiation.”
It also urged that in “order to achieve peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and realize its denuclearization,” the two countries should “make decisions to cease the military actions that provoke each other” – an apparent reference to Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests as well as the US and South Korean joint military drills – and that both sides create “a law or regulations … that affirm (that intention).”
There was no reference to the specific steps that North Korea would undertake to begin the process of denuclearization.
The agency concluded its report by stating that Kim and Trump had “gladly accepted” invitations to visit their respective countries at a later date.
In a separate dispatch KCNA also reported that Kim received a letter from Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, praising the “successful conclusion of the historic summit” between Kim and Trump.
“The joint statement signed by Chairman Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump is a dramatic advance and the first step of very important significance in the long course toward permanent peace and stability on the denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” the letter said, according to KCNA.
The letter also stated that the Singaporean Prime Minister wishes to meet Kim again “in the near future.”
In a further sign of Pyongyang’s attempts to normalize its relations with the outside world, another KCNA article reported that ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam had departed Pyongyang for Moscow to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.