N. Korean media hails Trump-Kim summit

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Seoul, March 1 (IANS) North Korean media on Friday hailed the submit between US President Donald Trump and regime leader Kim Jong-un as “positive and productive” and omitted to mention that the meeting ended without any key agreements.

The main media outlets controlled by the regime widely covered the two-day bilateral summit between Trump and Kim which ended abruptly in Hanoi a day earlier due to fundamental disagreements in the negotiations for denuclearizing North Korea.

In identical articles, official news outlets KCNA and Rodong Sinmun said the second summit served as an occasion for “deepening mutual respect and trust” and added that Kim had promised to hold another meeting while bidding farewell to Trump.

“They agreed to keep in close touch with each other for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the epochal development of the DPRK-US relations in the future, too,” the articles said.

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They reported that Kim thanked Trump “for making positive efforts for the successful meeting”, adding that the two leaders used the occasion to develop ties in line with mutual interests and regional peace.

The outlets did not report the fact that the summit ended before schedule and a joint declaration could not be signed, an outcome which Trump attributed to Kim demanding a complete lifting of sanctions and Washington rejecting the proposal.

Rodong Sinmun dedicated the entire front and back covers of its printed edition on Friday to the summit, publishing a number of photos where the two leaders could be seen smiling and shaking hands during their meeting and passing through the gardens of Hanoi’s Metropole hotel.

State broadcaster KCTV also aired a special news bulletin about the summit’s result, which said that the two leaders agreed to continue dialogue.

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However, anchor Ri Chun-hee – who normally reads out important news for the regime – was missing from this special bulletin, leading to speculation that Pyongyang might be reducing the summit’s importance, Efe news reported.

Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that the negotiations failed when Kim offered to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear research facility – where North Korea produces nuclear fuel for its weapons – in exchange for a complete lifting of sanctions.

However, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho contradicted this version of the negotiations hours later in an midnight press conference in Hanoi, claiming that Kim had urged the US for only a partial removal of sanctions in exchange for dismantling Yongbyon.

–IANS

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