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How North Korean TV covered the summit – Sunday
(North Korea Tech) On the day that both Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump arrived in Singapore for talks that could change the course of the nation, North Korean state TV and the state-run news service were silent about any of the events taking place in South East Asia.
State media rarely reports on the activities of Kim Jong Un in advance so the silence isn’t a surprise, but it does serve to highlight the closed society that North Koreans live in. Because foreign media isn’t permitted into the country, state media services are able to cover events at their own pace.
Part of the lack of advance coverage of what Kim Jong Un is doing in advance is often seen as a security measure, keeping his whereabouts confined to a small number of people, but it’s also partly so the state can shape the narrative on any event once they’ve seen it’s outcome.
By not telegraphing expectations, any result can be portrayed as victorious and the plan all along. This avoids precisely the situation President Trump has worked himself into, at first talking about complete denuclearization and mentioning a Nobel Prize, and now trying to walk it back a bit while deflecting some who are already calling the reduced aims a failure.
So what did North Korean TV report on Sunday?
The main 8pm evening news led with a statement made by a Nepali scholar of North Korean politics that lauded Kim Jong Un as a defender of peace on the the Korean peninsula and the world.
Reports on anything complementary said about Kim Jong Un by people overseas are often carried as news items. What’s a little interesting about this one is that the state news wire carried the item on June 5.
The news continued with reports on workers laying wreaths at monuments to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, factory workers looking at an exhibit of the day Kim Jong Il visited their workplace and news on construction projects, agriculture and other social activities.
It was thoroughly typical of every daily news bulletin on North Korean state TV.
Kim Jong Un did make an appearance. On Sunday, state TV replayed a report on him visiting the Pyongyang Seafood Restaurant. It was broadcast four times on Sunday after having aired four times on Saturday.
S. Korean, Singaporean ministers hold phone talks
(Yonhap News) The top diplomats of South Korea and Singapore agreed Monday to continue close cooperation on regional security, especially as the Southeast Asian city state is set to host the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting. In their phone conversation, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan briefed his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, on his recent trip to Pyongyang, according to Kang’s ministry.
He also informed Kang of the results of a meeting between the North’s leader Kim Jong-un and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore a day earlier.
The minister told Kang that his country will put in its best diplomatic effort for the success of Kim’s historic summit with President Donald Trump slated for Tuesday. He vowed to maintain close partnerships with South Korea as well.
Kang appreciated Singapore’s role in summit preparations and stressed the need for continued cooperation with the South. Singapore is known as a neutral diplomatic player. Both Koreas have embassies there.
S. Korean gov’t notifies N. Korea of its delegation list for Thursday’s general-level inter-Korean military talks
(Arirang) Seoul’s government notified Pyongyang of its list of delegates for the general-level inter-Korean military talks set for Thursday. The South’s defense ministry informed the North. through a military communication line as well as through a communication channel at Panmunjom.
Seoul’s team will be led by two-star general Kim Do-gyun, who was also a presidential secretary until early May.
The MND asked Pyongyang to send its list of delegates.
That planned meeting is expected to focus on ways to ease tensions along the border.
Graham, Menendez agree on desirable North Korea deal but differ on backup military option
(Washington Post) Two top senators indicated Sunday that they generally agree on what a good nuclear deal with North Korea might look like, but they differed sharply on whether to back it up with a military Plan B.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) a leading Republican hawk, said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s “100 percent” pleased with a letter top Senate Democrats sent President Trump last week insisting that any deal with North Korea must include a permanent dismantling of the country’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.
But Graham also called on his colleagues to go a step further and authorize use of military force if diplomatic routes fail.
“Here’s what I would say to my Democratic colleagues,” Graham told host George Stephanopolous. “I appreciate you telling the president what a good nuclear deal would look like, but the country needs you to back the president up to get that deal.”
“So here’s my question for my Democratic colleagues,” Graham continued. “If diplomacy fails, will you support my efforts to authorize the use of military force as a last resort to convince North Korea and China things will be different this time?”
Lawmakers and policymakers are closely watching this week’s historic summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two men are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, which the country has rapidly advanced during the past year under Kim’s watch. Kim appears especially interested in getting rid of international sanctions that are hampering his country’s economic growth.
N. Korean fishing boat rescued off east coast, crew members want to go back
(Yonhap News) A North Korean fishing boat was rescued while floating in waters off South Korea’s east cost on Monday, and all five of its crew members have expressed their desire to go back home, officials said.
A South Korean fishing boat alerted authorities after spotting the North Korean boat floating about 118 nautical miles off the east coast city of Sokcho around 6:20 a.m. The Coast Guard dispatched a patrol vessel and rescued the boat, which was suffering from an engine problem.
After questioning the five crew members, authorities determined that they didn’t intend to defect.
“As far as I know, it’s not that they crossed into the South to defect. It appears that they expressed their desire to go back,” a government source said on condition of anonymity. “We need to clearly determine their intention through questioning.”
If it’s confirmed that the crew members want to go back, the government notifies the North of its plan to repatriate the boat and its crew members and hand them over to North Korean authorities at sea.
It is not uncommon for North Korean fishing boats to end up in South Korean waters due to engine or other mechanical problems. The South has repatriated crew members if they want to go back. In December, the South sent a North Korean fishing boat back to the communist nation after rescuing it in waters about 84 km off the island of Ulleung.