North Korean state media breaks with tradition in its coverage of Trump-Kim summit

Key Points
  • North Korea state media is late to the game in covering the historic meeting between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, with the first reports only appearing on Monday.
  • That's actually considered early for media coverage in the secretive nation, given that Kim's activities are usually kept under wraps until they've concluded.
Discussing the aims of Trump and Kim ahead of the summit
Discussing the aims of Trump and Kim ahead of the summit

Global coverage in the lead up to the historic meeting between leaders of North Korea and the U.S. has been extensive, but citizens in the hermit nation were kept in the dark until Monday.

North Korean state media first mentioned the summit one day after the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, arrived in Singapore for his Tuesday meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

While that's weeks after the first international media reports about the summit, that's actually considered early for media in the secretive nation given that Kim's activities are usually kept under wraps until he's back in Pyongyang, noted Rodger Baker, vice president of strategic analysis at Stratfor.

"The North Koreans, by advertising the summit in North Korea before it even happens, was certainly out of characteristic for how they behave," Baker told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday just hours before the two leaders met.

He added that the development could be North Korea's way of signaling that "there's a really positive outcome to come from" the summit.

Kim departs for 'historic foreign tour'

The Korean Central News Agency, a North Korean state media outlet known as KCNA, reported on Monday that Kim boarded "a Chinese plane for his personal use" on the morning of June 10 to Singapore, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

KCNA called the trip "a historic foreign tour" and gave details of what the meeting with Trump would entail:

"Wide-ranging and profound views on the issue of establishing new DPRK-U.S. relations, the issue of building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, the issue of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual concern, as required by the changed era, will be exchanged at the DPRK-U.S. summit talks to be held for the first time in history under the great attention and expectation of the whole world," the agency said in English.

North Korean state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reported the Trump-Kim summit on June 11, 2018.
Source: KNCA Watch

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is North Korea's official name.

Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, carried 16 color photos on Monday, according to Yonhap. Those included Kim boarding the Air China 747 plane in Pyongyang, his arrival in Singapore and his meeting with the Southeast Asian country's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

Kim learns Singapore's 'social and economic development'

On the eve of his meeting with Trump, Kim went on an evening tour of Singaporean attractions such as nature park Gardens by the Bay and the rooftop garden of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.

KCNA said Kim enjoyed the tour and "learned about the social and economic development of the Republic of Singapore."

The outlet also reported Kim said Singapore is clean and beautiful and added that he "is going to learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience of Singapore in various fields in the future."