SINGAPORE (AP) — Spare a moment, as you anticipate one of the most unusual summits in modern history, to consider North Korea’s leader as he left the all-encompassing bubble of his locked-down stronghold of Pyongyang on Sunday and stepped off a jet onto Singapore soil for his planned sit-down with President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
There’s just no recent precedent for the gamble Kim Jong Un is taking.
As far as we know, his despot father only traveled out of the country by train, and rarely at that, because of fears of assassination. Kim, up until his recent high-profile summit with South Korea’s president on the southern side of their shared border, has usually hunkered down behind his vast propaganda and security services or made short trips to autocrat-friendly China.
While Singapore has authoritarian leanings, it is still a thriving bastion of capitalism and wealth, and Kim will be performing his high-stakes diplomatic tight-rope walk in front of 3,000 international journalists, including a huge contingent from the ultra-aggressive South Korean press — sometimes referred to by Pyongyang as “reptile media” — two of whom were arrested by Singapore police investigating a report of trespassing at the residence of the North Korean ambassador.
Is this a good thing? And should we ignore all the harm Kim Jung Un has done over the years? Let us know in the comments below…