We Didn’t Understand A Word Of The Documentary But There’s Still A Lot To Learn
Earlier this week, the North Korean government released a documentary that commemorated the historic Singapore Summit.
The Summit saw the first meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.
But while many of us saw the event through the global media lens, the North Korean film offers a fascinating insight into how Pyongyang views the event.
Or at least, how Pyongyang wants its people to view and understand the event.
Problem is, the documentary is entirely in Korean.
Despite not understanding a word, we still learnt 4 important things about the hermit state.
1. Mr Kim prepared for the trip
Mr Kim’s meeting with American President Donald Trump is likely to be the most important diplomatic meeting of his life.
And the 34-year-old treated it as such.
At 5:25 in the video, he appears to be diligently reading a pile of papers.
Seeing that he came out of the Summit as a big winner, we think all that preparation paid off.
While it may not seem like a secret in other countries, the fact that the North Korean administration basically admitted that Mr Kim was human and needed to prepare for meetings is telling.
After all, this is the state where the official narrative implied that Mr Kim Il-sung did not need to use the bathroom.
So to have a scene in the video showing a hardworking Mr Kim signals a major shift in the propaganda tactics of the hermit state.
And that’s something worth noticing.
It appears that when talking to Mr Kim, North Koreans adopt a special pose.
They stand straight with their palms clasped in front of them.
We understand it’s a respectful pose – but to have 4 out of 4 people doing it suggests it might be official protocol.
Or is it just a case of comrade see, comrade do?
3. Mr Kim can be quite fidgety
Was the Supreme Leader nervous about the looming summit?
A quick glance at his first day at the St. Regis Singapore suggests that he was.
Take a look at how he moves his thumbs between 09:30 and 09:40 of the video.
It’s a manic movement, almost as if he can’t sit still.
Why’s that a big secret?
It’s the same reason that Mr Kim reportedly brings his own toilet when travelling.
His regime is petrified of foreign states knowing about Mr Kim’s health and wellbeing, because it fears that others would use the information to end Mr Kim’s rule.
So to have evidence that suggests that Mr Kim has a nervous tic is a big deal.
4. North Korea might have a dedicated welcoming party
Hundreds of ordinary people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Mr Kim’s motorcade as he left Changi Airport.
But it wasn’t just in the Little Red Dot that Mr Kim caused a commotion.
A huge crowd gathered at Pyongyang Airport to welcome him after the summit as well.
Interestingly, many were dressed like him.
They waved communist and North Korean flags and erupted into cheers when the Air China Boeing 747 carrying Mr Kim touched down.
It’s almost certain that the crowd wasn’t spontaneous – like most things in North Korea, it was probably the brainchild of the oppressive regime.
Nonetheless, it’s fascinating to see how North Koreans welcome their leader back after a foreign trip.
Given that Mr Kim makes so few of such trips, it’s likely that this is the only footage that exists of a North Korean leader’s welcome.
Bonus: Mr Kim got to see “The Beast”
In an interesting scene in the documentary, Mr Trump is also seen showing Mr Kim “The Beast”.
Don’t think dirty – “The Beast” is a nickname for the American presidential limousine. It comes with all sorts of bells and whistles, among them a range of top-security features.
Mr Trump called it a gesture of “special respect and goodwill”.
Whether Mr Kim’s future cars will emulate their American counterparts’ cars remains to be seen.
Singapore’s time in the limelight continues
This wasn’t the first time Singapore made it to North Korean media this week.
Check out earlier coverage of the Little Red Dot by the Lady In Pink here.
Featured image from Korean Central News Agency via Reuters.
Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.