North Korean media hails Kim as victor after Trump talks
KCNA highlights US concessions on war games after summit in Singapore
North Korean media hailed Kim Jong-un as the victor in “the meeting of the century” after he met US president Donald Trump for the first time and welcomed what it saw as solid guarantees on security and lifting sanctions.
The two men met on the tropical island of Sentosa in Singapore on Tuesday to sign a joint declaration that reiterated some existing commitments on denuclearisation and eased tensions by giving vague assurances on other issues. The communiqué was criticised for lacking detail.
There were no such reservations in Pyongyang, which boldly announced that Mr Trump had agreed to halt US-South Korea joint military exercises, give security guarantees to the North and lift punishing economic sanctions against it as relations improve.
Kim Jong-un had said it was “urgent” for North Korea and the US to cease “irritating and hostile military actions against each other” during the talks on Tuesday, the state news agency KCNA reported.
“The Meeting of the Century opens up a new history in North Korea-US relations” ran the headline across state newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
“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,” KCNA said.
Gallery: Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un meet
“Simultaneous action” appears to be a reference to the US ceasing joint military drills with South Korea, a long-time irritant to the North Koreans who see it as a precursor to invasion and eventual regime change.
In return for these concessions, the North Koreans, using the formal title of the country, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, reaffirmed the Panmunjom Declaration, which was signed after the inter-Korean summit on April 27th when Mr Kim met his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.
“The DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” the communiqué ran.
KCNA hailed the talks as an historic break from the past.
Certainly the tone of the media coverage is a break from the past. The same state media has labelled John Bolton, the security adviser who sat with Mr Trump at the talks on Tuesday, “human scum and a bloodsucker”.
Previous insults included calling former president Barack Obama “a dirty fellow” and a “juvenile delinquent” and labelled the US as a “cancer” and “gangster nation”.
Instead the stories hailed how Mr Kim and Mr Trump had walked through the gardens “deepening friendly feelings”.
After the talks on Tuesday, Mr Trump announced that the US would end the “war games”, saying they were inappropriate and too expensive. The announcement of what has been seen as major concession to North Korea was greeted by surprise by Seoul and also the US military in South Korea.
The announcement of the summit was read out by the legendary Ri Chun-hee on state television. The 75-year-old grandmother is brought out for her emotional deliveries of stories of great import, such as the deaths of Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il and his grandfather Kim Il-sung.
KCNA was also reporting that Mr Trump and Mr Kim had invited each other to visit each other’s countries “at a convenient time” at the bilateral meeting in the Capella hotel on Sentosa.
“The two top leaders gladly accepted each other’s invitation,” the KCNA report said. Mr Trump said in a post-summit briefing that it was a possibility but was too early to discuss.