Just days ahead of one of the most highly anticipated international summits in history, both President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have arrived in Singapore.
But while the world prepares for the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, it is unlikely the people of North Korea even know the historic summit is taking place this week, aside from a few unspecific details.
And if history is any indication, they will not know it has taken place until after the summit has happened.
North Korea goes to great lengths to control what information its citizens receive, and often waits until after an important event to reveal the country’s involvement.
According to BBC Monitoring, while citizens know a certain “dialogue” is currently taking place between North Korea and the U.S., they haven’t been told about the subject more than a handful of times.
Unless they’ve been paying close attention to details buried deep in a report on Kim’s May meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, citizens are largely unaware of the June 12 meeting in Singapore.
North Korea has continued to uphold the narrative that the historic summit comes at the request of Washington, as reported in state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s May 9 visit. The newspaper attributed all comments regarding the possibility of a summit to Pompeo.
Weeks after Pompeo’s visit, North Korea threatened to “reconsider” their participation in the summit.
However, just nine days after Trump announced the cancellation of the meeting, North Korea released statements detailing the “urgent necesity” for the summit after all.
Instead of being updated on Tuesday’s summit, the BBC reported North Korean citizens are likely tuning into regularly scheduled news programming praising “the Kim dynasty, martial music, and films and dramas featuring ladled-on ideological messages.”
Meanwhile, Kim met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday at the height of global curiosity over his sudden desire for diplomacy.
“The entire world is watching the historic summit between (North Korea) and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts … we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit,” he said to Lee through an interpreter, according to CBS.
Trump is going into Tuesday’s meeting with the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Trump hopes the summit will also provide an opportunity for Kim Jong Un to do “something great” for North Korea.
“I feel that Kim Jong Un wants to do something great for his people,” Trump said, according to CNN. “And he has that opportunity, and he won’t have that opportunity again.”
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