Anti-U.S. propaganda posters are diminishing in the North Korean capital as both countries prepare for next month’s summit.
According to Chad O’Carroll of NK News, analysis from mid-April of government art in Pyongyang shows a noticeable decrease in both anti-American and pro-nuclear content.
“Of 103 photos of propaganda messages taken throughout Pyongyang and neighboring provinces this April, just two were anti-U.S. in nature and only two promoted nuclear weapons or missile capabilities,” O’Carroll writes.
The majority of posters are reported to now focus specifically on domestic issues including “increased industrial production, scientific achievement and economic self-reliance.”
Residents of Pyongyang also confirmed to NK News this week that the shift in visible propaganda remains.
A new poster revealed by state-run media website DPRK Today, O’Carroll notes, likewise focuses on “Self-reliance; Science and Technology.”
“Let’s accomplish the April decision of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea,” the poster says.
The current imagery is in stark contrast to content seen during the height of U.S.-North Korean tensions late last year, when Pyongyang defiantly tested numerous missiles and a suspected thermonuclear weapon.
Aside from anti-U.S. propaganda in the capital, North Korean was suspected of sending flyers depicting the death of U.S. President Donald Trump into South Korea around last October.
— Chad O’Carroll (@chadocl) October 14, 2017
Another flyer, also found in Seoul, similarly showed the U.S. president, described as a “crazy dog,” being decapitated.
— Chad O’Carroll (@chadocl) October 16, 2017
Experts believe the current reduction in hostile rhetoric inside Pyongyang is aimed at easing tensions ahead of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore on June 12.
Pyongyang, however, cancelled this week a high-level meeting with South Korea and threatened to pull out of the U.S.-North Korea summit.
In a statement from North Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan Wednesday, Pyongyang singled out White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and his repeated calls for using a “Libya-style” denuclearization model.
“High-ranking officials of the White House and the Department of State including Bolton, White House national security adviser, are letting loose the assertions of so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment,” Gwan said.
North Korea also made clear that it had no intention to give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally.
“If the Trump administration takes an approach to the DPRK-U.S. summit with sincerity for improved DPRK-U.S. relations, it will receive a deserved response from us,” Gwan said. “However, if the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit.”
Experts believe Kim is attempting to influence Trump into agreeing to a deal more favorable to Pyongyang by threatening to end the long-sought meeting.