Post-summit public lectures honor Kim Jong Un’s overseas achievements

Kim Jong Un returns to Pyongyang following the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi
Kim Jong Un returns to Pyongyang following the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi. Image: Rodong Sinmun

The North Korean authorities are promoting the achievements of leader Kim Jong Un following his return after 10 days of travel outside the country, with the notable omission of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“A lecture was held for workers yesterday,” reported a North Pyongan Province-based source on March 6. “The lecture lasted for around 30 minutes and focused on Chairman Kim’s efforts in Vietnam.”

The lectures were delivered just hours after Kim had arrived back in North Korea at 3 am on March 5.

The lecture praised Kim for having “traveled thousands of miles to make the lives of the people better,” adding that “we [North Koreans] need to emulate such a mentality.”

There was, however, no mention of the second US-DPRK summit–widely portrayed through the North’s state media in a positive light media–during the lecture, which was the primary reason that Kim had left Pyongyang. The attendees at the lectures did not feel comfortable asking questions about the summit, either.

“After the lecture, some people asked whether there were results from the summit, but the atmosphere was one where keeping your mouth shut seemed the best thing to do,” said a source in South Pyongan Province who reported similar lectures in her region.

On the same day, the state-run Rodong Sinmun published articles on its front page with reactions from local residents about Kim’s return to the country along with photos. In contrast to reporting by the paper when Kim returned from the first US-DPRK summit in Singapore, the focus was on the achievements Kim made during his trip to Vietnam and praising his leadership.

The newspaper’s front page included an article entitled, “The Long March of 20,000 Ri that Shocked the World,” that included editorials aimed at solidifying support behind the regime by officials including Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee Pak Thae Dok and Vice Premier Kim Tok Hun

The editorials focused on highlighting the “achievements abroad by the Supreme Leader and Comrade” and emphasized the need to achieve successes in economic construction, increasing electricity supplies, educating young people, scientific research, and increasing grain production.

The newspaper also published a piece entitled “An Experienced Politician Who is Leading the Global Political Trends,” stating that the “world’s media, politicians and distinguished figures are focused on the unique political and diplomatic techniques of the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un” and further praised him as a “man who makes brave decisions,” and “a leader who makes bold decisions and is decisive.”

The newspaper published pictures of smiling people looking at newspaper pages with news of Kim’s return, along with a photo of miners holding up their hands in celebration upon hearing of Kim’s arrival back in the country.

Another photo with a family sitting around a TV was published along with the following text: “This is Comrade Kim Bom Do’s family in Samjiyon County. They cannot sleep a wink because of their yearning for the Dear Respected Marshal, who is devoting his time for the betterment of North Korea and its people.”