North Korean media has refrained from reporting on Pyongyang’s upcoming summits with Seoul and Washington, a Seoul official said Monday.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters North Korea appears to “need more time and is taking a cautious approach in setting its stance” on the planned meetings, Yonhap reported.
The official confirmed there has been no media coverage of the planned meetings in the North.
The South’s presidential envoy Chung Eui-yong last week announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un proposed a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss denuclearization.
Trump accepted and suggested holding the summit by May, which would follow the inter-Korean summit slated for late April.
On Saturday, a unofficial pro-North Korea paper based in Japan had reported on the inter-Korean summit slated for late April, as well as talks with Washington, but later scrapped the article.
North Korea’s state-run media continued to criticize the United States after Trump accepted Kim’s invitation to discuss denuclearization.
The ruling Workers’ Party-issued paper Rodong Sinmun on Saturday ran a commentary, denouncing Washington’s “very dangerous” sanctions on the regime and warning they could trigger a war.
The paper on Monday stressed that North Koreans bolster their “revolutionary spirit of Mt. Baekdu” against the likes of the United States.
“The hardship that lies ahead of our revolution now is harsh and our country is breaking through the worst adversity in history,” the editorial said. “The U.S. and its followers are trying to maximize sanctions and hold onto its schemes to spark a reckless nuclear war.”
The daily called for new generations to become trustworthy workers of a socialist Korea, maintaining the tradition of the “Mt. Baekdu bloodline” of the ruling Kim family.
North Koreans are taught to believe that the reclusive state’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung, fought against Japanese forces at Mount Baekdu, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula.
His son Kim Jong Il is also fabled to have been born at the mountain. The ruling family’s connection to the sacred mountain has long been used to justify the three-generation successions.
Observers say Pyongyang authorities are attempting to prime the public with ideological education before announcing the breakthrough agreement on talks with Seoul and Washington, Hankook Ilbo reported.
“North Korean residents are bound to be confused if authorities declared summit talks with the South and the U.S., after stirring toward them until recently,” said Cho Sung-ryul, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy.
In the meantime, North Korean authorities “seem to be putting particular emphasis on the regime’s founding ideology to prevent unrest from the residents in advance and make them trust only in the ruling party,” Cho said.
Some say North Korea’s slow pace in reporting recent developments is hardly surprising.
It took the regime’s state media nine days to report on South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s North Korea strategy delivered in a speech in Berlin.
Former President Kim Dae-jung’s Berlin Declaration promising economic support for the North in 2000 was blasted by North Korean media six days later.