Kim’s trip is success in North’s filmNorth Korean state media on Wednesday broadcast a lengthy documentary on Kim Jong-un’s trip to Vietnam last week, casting his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in a glowing light without mentioning its breakdown.
The hour and 20 minute-long film was put out by Korean Central Television, the only official news channel in the country. It depicted almost the entirety of Kim’s weeklong journey, beginning from his arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 26 to his return to Pyongyang in the early morning on Tuesday. The film is the first official report in North Korea about the summit since Kim’s arrival home.
While the purpose of the visit was the summit with Trump, the meeting took a backseat to Kim’s trip around Vietnam in the film, which omitted any reference to the talks’ collapse and the failure to sign an agreement. It nonetheless portrayed the summit as “an important milestone in elevating [U.S.-North Korean relations] to a new level,” and added that the two leaders agreed to continue discussions going forward. Also included were the names of top officials on both sides who joined their leaders to the talks, like Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, a hard-liner toward Pyongyang.
Of particular note, however, was the optimistic message laid out for the future of negotiations with the United States narrated over footage of Kim and Trump taking a short walk around the inner gardens of the hotel in Hanoi where the talks were held.
“Reality shows that if there is mutual respect and acknowledgement, fair proposals are made and [negotiations] are entered in with a proper posture and desire to solve the issues, North Korea-U.S. relations can overcome difficulties and challenges to progress and write a new history and future,” the film’s narrator said.
The mention of fairness backs up the North Koreans’ reported dissatisfaction at the fact that the United States refused to grant sanctions relief in return for their offer to dismantle their nuclear facilities at Yongbyon - the apparent cause of the summit’s collapse, according to Trump. Kim Jong-un was also shown in the film as cheery and energetic as he met with Vietnamese officials and residents during his tour of Hanoi following the summit. There was no depiction of him looking somewhat listless the day after the talks flopped, as was seen in captured footage from Vietnam.
Kim Jong-un’s first summit with Trump in Singapore last June was also the subject of a 40-minute documentary released just 12 hours after his return to Pyongyang. Analysts say the 32 hours it took the state media to release a film this time around suggests that the country’s propaganda officials were grappling with how to spin the summit’s flop into a success.
BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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