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Pyongyang media takes softer approach to U.S.

Sept 14,2018
North Korean media appears to be pulling its punches against the United States as leader Kim Jong-un prepares for a possible second summit with Donald Trump.

The North’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun wrote Thursday in an editorial about the trade war between Washington and Beijing that both countries were refusing to back down, a contrast to an editorial in the same paper on April 1 that denounced the United States for “trying to confront China to the end.”

The recent article didn’t blame either country for the trade war. The Rodong Sinmun, which selects a few articles to be translated into English, did not provide English versions of either editorial. The latest report came days after the White House confirmed that a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was being worked on.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said last Monday in Washington that Trump received a letter from Kim asking for a second summit. Sanders said the U.S. was “already in the process of coordinating that,” without going into further detail.

The first time both leaders met was on June 12 in Singapore. In the editorial Thursday, the Rodong Sinmun wrote that China and the United States were both facing significant damages from their trade war, stressing that the dispute was the result of a long-running “strategic contradiction,” as China rapidly grows in the world economy to threaten American influence.

The paper analyzed that, in the end, the conflict between the two countries will only intensify unless one of them relinquishes its hegemonic economic power.

In the April 1 editorial on the same subject, the Rodong Sinmun wrote that the cause of the trade war was China’s economic rise and the United States’ decline. The paper went on to say that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a group of U.S. congressmen that China was willing to solve the issue through talks. But the U.S. kept trying to confront China, wrote the paper.

BY CHUN SU-JIN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]