Trump Kim Summit: North Korea Eyes ‘New Relationship’ With US

North Korean state media has raised the possibility that the isolated country could “establish a new relationship” with the United States. It comes a day before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets US President Donald Trump for historic talks.

The comments mark a shift in tone from North Korea after decades of animosity towards the US.

Meanwhile Mr Trump has said he has a “good feeling” about the much-anticipated summit.

Both leaders arrived for the talks – the first ever between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader – in Singapore on Sunday.

Mr Trump tweeted on Monday morning that there was “excitement in the air” in the Asian country ahead of the summit.

He hopes the meeting will kick-start a process that eventually sees Mr Kim give up nuclear weapons.

But North Korea’s perspective has always been opaque, clarifying its expectations less than a day out from its sit-down with the US.

What has North Korea said?

North Korea’s state media does not usually report on the leader’s activities in real time, and the summit has only had a passing mention so far.

It said “broad and in-depth opinions” would be exchanged to “establish a permanent and peaceful regime in the Korean peninsula and to solve problems that are of common concern, including issues to realise the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

“Even if a country had a hostile relationship with us in the past, our attitude is that if this nation respects our autonomy… we shall seek normalisation through dialogue,” it reads.

For decades the US has been a sworn enemy. There are even anti-American museums in Pyongyang.

But the state is now trying to sell the idea of talking to what it once described as “the incarnation of all sorts of evil, the empire of devils”. And that was some of its milder language.

So let’s examine a couple of key phrases from Rodong Sinmun.

In the English version, the summit is sold as a chance to realise “the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and other issues of mutual concern, as required by the changed era”.

It’s the “changed era” that is important. North Korea has spent decades building up a nuclear arsenal at great personal cost. Kim Jong-un needs to tell his people why he’s willing to negotiate.

His New Year speech – the one that kick-started this diplomatic process – was all about North Korea’s strategy of building the economy having achieved the goal of becoming a nuclear power. This has echoes of that.

These pages in the paper are significant because they pave the way for a possible change in the state’s message and it helps those watching argue that this time with North Korea – things could be different.

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