North Korean media quiet on historic Trump-Kim summit

The handshake, the menu, the positioning of flags — every aspect of the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been dissected and analyzed in the world’s media. But in North Korea, Tuesday’s historic summit didn’t even merit a mention.

By the early evening, the country’s tightly-controlled media had completely ignored the meeting, at which Kim made a vague pledge of denuclearization and Trump suggested he would end “provocative” joint military exercises with South Korea.

In North Korea, where all local media is state-owned, reports often come out a day after the fact, leaving the population there in the dark Tuesday on one of the country’s most significant political events in years.

Instead, North Koreans received news Tuesday of the Philippines national day, Russia’s national day and even the folk sport of swinging, according to bulletins by state-run news agency KCNA.

But they did get day-old news on Kim’s trip, with images published of his jaunts around Singapore the night before the summit with the city state’s foreign minister and education minister.

Kim was photographed visiting the Sky Park on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands building, the Great Flower Garden and Singapore Port. The state-owned Rodong Sinmun newspaper plastered the images across its front page Tuesday.

On Tuesday, KCNA wrote of Kim: “Enjoying a nocturnal bird’s-eye view of the city on the observation platform of the Marina Bay Sands building, he said 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.”

On Monday, North Koreans had news of Kim’s arrival in Singapore the day before. Gathered outside a train station in the capital, Pyongyang, a crowd watched Kim disembarking from an Air China flight and shaking hands with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The North Korean government tightly controls the flow of information inside the country, and citizens are often severely punished for consuming media not sanctioned by Pyongyang, according to defectors.

At an April inter-Korean summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, it was only the following day that KCNA reported on the talks, which they called “historic” and a “groundbreaking development.”