President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un are expected to meet to discuss denuclearization, but North Korean state media apparently didn’t get the message.
After a landmark meeting in Pyongyang, during which South Korean diplomats met with senior North Korean leadership, South Korean officials visited Washington to relay a message from Kim to the president. The young despot has, according to the South Koreans, invited Trump to meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss denuclearization. Trump agreed to the meeting immediately.
News of a possible Trump-Kim Jong Un meeting made headlines around the world. However, North Korean state media has yet to make any mention of this unprecedented meeting. If this historic summit occurs, Trump will become the first sitting American president to meet with a North Korean leader, potentially elevating Kim’s status on the world stage by legitimizing his regime. This could be a very big moment for Kim, but Pyongyang has yet to publicly say anything about the meeting.
The Korean Central News Agency has in recent days written on the start of the Paralympic Games, unspecified praise for Kim Jong-il in foreign papers, and the protection of migratory birds. Radio broadcasts out of Pyongyang reported well wishes from the Syrian regime. The same was largely true for the North’s other state news outlets.
No word on the possible meeting.
The state-run Rodong Sinmun did, however, write an interesting report: “U.S. Military Force, Sanctions and Blockade Will Not Work on DPRK,” a headline read.
“The U.S. could not stop the DPRK from making a dash toward the final victory in building a powerful socialist nation,” the commentary explained. “Neither military force nor sanctions and blockade can ever work on the DPRK.”
Not exactly the language of reconciliation.
North Korean Ambassador to the U.N. Pak Song Sil told The Washington Post that “Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un demonstrated a broad-minded and resolute decision,” praising Kim’s courage to pursue peace on the Korean Peninusla, but he did not directly comment on the meeting.
Prior to the meeting in Washington, South Korea’s presidential office revealed that North Korea wanted to talk to the U.S. to discuss denuclearization and normalizing bilateral relations. The North Koreans never commented on that announcement, but the Rodong Sinmun did write a report explaining why North Korea is justified in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“We openly and squarely possessed nuclear weapons to defend the supreme interests of the country from the U.S. nuclear threats,” the paper argued, adding, “Peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and the rest of the world have been reliably guaranteed by the DPRK’s bolstering of nuclear deterrent.”
“The DPRK has defended the world peace and security by single-handedly frustrating the U.S. reckless nuclear moves to stifle it by force and dominate the world. Its [nuclear] feats deserve the praise of the world,” the commentary added.
The state-run media outlet also criticized the U.S. for its so-called “history of nuclear crimes.”
It is unclear why North Korea is silent on this issue. Perhaps it is simply waiting to announce the meeting until plans are confirmed, maybe an optimistic South Korea misinterpreted the message, or perhaps this is a ploy. As North Korea is one of the world’s toughest intelligence targets, it is difficult to determine the regime’s intentions.
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