Singapore experience to help Kim push North forward

Top News | REUTERS 13 Jun 2018

Just hours after Kim Jong Un wrapped up a surprise evening sightseeing tour of Singapore, North Korea newspaper Rodong Sinmun crammed its front page with photos of the reclusive leader.

It featured 14 photos showing Kim jovially walking with Singapore officials at a garden and beside an infinity pool.

State-run KCNA news agency reported Kim as saying that "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 speed of the coverage in Rodong Sinmun and other state media is unusual in a country where events are often reported a full day, if not longer, after they happen. The sense of fun in the reporting is also a contrast with the more sober way in which the North Korean media would usually handle an official trip.

It appears to reflect a new confidence among officials in North Korea that the isolated country has really been accepted onto the world stage.

This is the furthest Kim is known to have traveled since he came to power in 2011.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance, ordinary North Koreans are not confident that improvement in relations will last long and give them a better economy, defectors say. "They weren't too excited about the summit. North Korea had rice and medicine aid from the US and other countries before, but that did not trickle down to ordinary people," said Park Hyun Sook.

Many North Koreans are still filled with deep-rooted distrust towards Trump, which state media previously called a "lunatic old man."

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