North Korean Media: KCTV’s Coverage of Kim Jong Un’s Diplomatic Push in 2018

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North Korea’s state broadcaster, Korean Central Television (KCTV), has had to tread a fine line covering this year’s international summits and diplomatic events.

On the one hand, the numerous summits have been something to hail, having put Kim Jong Un concretely on the global stage, broken the country’s international diplomatic isolation and potentially laid the groundwork for getting sanctions relief and boosting the North Korean economy.

But danger isn’t far away. If Kim’s regime is seen by the North Korean public to align itself too closely with foreign governments, especially South Korea and the US, it risks reversing years of anti-South Korean and anti-US propaganda. While state media has laid off those themes since the summitry began, it may need to revive them if diplomacy falls apart.

Taken together, KCTV coverage of this year’s summits shows this balancing act: while Kim Jong Un’s meetings with South Korean and US leaders have dominated world headlines, Kim’s meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping have received far greater coverage inside North Korea.

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