Donald Trump’s has appeared on the front page of North Korea’s main state newspaper, the first time the overwhelming majority of the country’s citizens will have seen his picture.
Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, featured 33 photos of the country’s leader Kim Jong-un and the US President.
The appearance of the US president in the North Korean media comes after he appeared to pave the way for more meetings with Kim, including a possible visit to the White House by the dictator.
Curious North Koreans look at the Rodong Sinmun featuring pictures of the country’s dictator smiling with Donald Trump
A copy of the newspaper on display on the Pyongyang underground. Rodong Sinmun featured 33 pictures of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump
Rodong Sinmun has previously condemned the United States as a ‘gangster-like imperialist’ and ‘cancer-like entity’ but many of the pictures featured Trump and Kim smiling together.
It dubbed the summit in Singapore ‘the meeting of the century’ on its front page.
The newspaper had been quick off the mark to cover Kim Jong Un’s trip, plastering it’s Tuesday edition with pictures and stories of Kim travelling with officials and sightseeing.
In one photo on the summit coverage front page, Trump was featured gesturing the way forward for Kim Jong-un, while four of the eight photos on the front page featured them shaking hands.
The North Korean media is tightly controlled and its citizens face harsh punishments if they are caught watching or listening to foreign media, particularly broadcasts from South Korea.
One expert, Chad O’Carroll, CEO of the Korea Risk Group, said: ‘This is the first time the vast majority of North Koreans will have ever seen
Rodong Sinmun has previously called the United States a ‘gangster-like imperialist’ and ‘cancer-like entity’
According to one expert, the pictures are the first time North Koreans have seen Trump’s photo
Backdrops of U.S. and North Korean flags, both red white and blue, were also prominent in the Rodong Sinmun.
Other pages showed U.S. and North Korean officials having their extended meeting, a working lunch and later, Trump and Kim signing a joint agreement that marked the end to the summit.
The number photos seen in Wednesday’s Rodong Sinmun were, however, far fewer than the 61 featured in the the day after the April 27 inter-Korean summit.
North Korea’s official media brought a large number of reporters and camera operators to Singapore and they had access to Kim that was denied to media from elsewhere in the world.
The country’s other state media framed Tuesday’s summit as a win for Pyongyang as it listed concessions made by Trump, in particular the decision to cancel joint US – South Korean annual war games.
‘Kim Jong Un and Trump had the shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,’ the KCNA news agency said.
Kim and Trump invited each other to their respective countries and both leaders ‘gladly accepted’, KCNA also reported.
The same report was later read by star North Korean broadcaster Ri Chun Hee on state television.
Trump speaks at a signing ceremony with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. The North Korean media stressed the concession he made on US – South Korea war games
Ri is best remembered outside North Korea for her emotional deliveries of the deaths of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather.
The 75-year-old grandmother usually takes to the air for major announcements, including ebulliently reporting the news of North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test last September.
‘Today’s Rodong Sinmun wants to show Kim Jong Un played a huge part and seized a great victory,’ said Moon Hong-sik, research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy.
‘If you look at just the North Korean reports from today it seems this week’s summit existed to create a new peace regime on the Korean peninsula and a new relationship with the United States. Denuclearisation was just an appendage.’
President Trump has paved the way for more meetings with Kim Jong-un and said he would ‘absolutely’ invite him to the White House
Jeong Hyung-gon, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy added: ‘It’s propaganda in the end. They are expressing their thoughts in order to cover their weaknesses.’
President Trump thanked the dictator for ‘taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people.’
‘Our unprecedented meeting – the first between an American President and a leader of North Korea – proves that real change is possible!’ he tweeted.
The president hailed a newly forged ‘special bond’ with Kim following a day of historic talks, praised the dictator as a ‘skilled’ negotiator and said he would ‘absolutely’ invite him to the White House in the future.
‘We’ll probably need another summit. We’ll probably need – or meeting. We can use a different term. But we’ll probably need another one,’ he said.