The past three months have been a kind of coming out party for the leader of the so-called “hermit kingdom.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made several trips abroad and met four foreign leaders since March, a remarkable change for a leader that had not left home or met another head of state since he took power a little over six years ago.
Kim, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju, secretly made a state visit to Beijing in late March to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Met Xi Jinping In China)
The North Korean leader then visited Dalian in May. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Visits China … Again)
Kim took an interest in Chinese development and economic reform practices, as well as opportunities for the improvement of bilateral relations between China and North Korea.
The North Korean leader has twice met his South Korean counterpart President Moon Jae-in, once on South Korean soil and again in North Korea. During both meetings, the two Korean leaders embraced one another as friends, despite years of tension. (RELATED: North, South Korean Leaders Hold Surprise Meeting)
During the meeting, Kim and Moon discussed economic development, with the latter offering Kim a plan for North Korea.
After Kim arrived in Singapore Sunday, he met with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Arrives In Singapore For Summit With Trump)
During his stay in Singapore, Kim took a tour of the country, expressing admiration for its development. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Is Out On The Town And Taking Selfies In Singapore)
Now, Kim is meeting face-to-face with President Donald Trump at a historic summit, where the topics on the table are expected to include denuclearization, security, and improved ties. (RELATED: President Trump And Kim Jong Un Meet For The First Time At Singapore Summit)
Kim is the murderous head of a brutal and repressive prison state, but his charm offensive, which began at the start of the year, appears aimed at reshaping his international image. Kim has received rock star treatment in Singapore, and many observers have commented on his deft skills as a statesman. The North Korean leader has reportedly made a commitment to denuclearization; however, a prevailing view is that Kim actually seeks recognition as the leader of a nuclear-armed state.
The world will likely know more about the North Korean leader’s intentions once Trump and Kim conclude their meeting.
“He is a confident, young leader,” Prime Minister Lee said of Kim, adding, “I think he wants to go on to a new path. What he is prepared to deal, and how the agreement can be worked out – well that is a complicated matter. I think he has an intention to do something, and that is why he is meeting Donald Trump.”
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