ANTI-US propaganda that was prevalent around North Korea just a matter of weeks ago is starting to disappear, according to tour guides and people inside the reclusive nation.
But this may be the only progress made since the historic Trump-Kim Summit last week as North Korea has reportedly made no efforts to curb its nuclear programme.
Souvenir shops that once stocked items criticising the US aimed at North Korea tourists near the demilitarised zone (DMZ) on the Korean border, as well as in the capital Pyongyang, have removed the often violent and negative stock.
Rowan Beard, a tour manager for Young Pioneer Tours, told NK News that the anti-American postcards, posters, and stamps were no longer for sale.
Koryo Tours General Manager Simon Cockerell, too, told NK News on Wednesday afternoon that his company “had a tour group at Panmunjom both last week and this morning, both of whom reported the absence of anti-American propaganda material.”
These, he added, have been “replaced by items more focused on positive themes such as reunification rather than the often violent anti-US images” common in the past.
There has also been a change in the murals that span many North Korean streets. The violent scenes of American war crimes or crushing US troops are starting to give way to signs that push for the success of an ongoing five-year economic growth plan, reports NK News.
The pivot to economic reform was championed by leader Kim Jong Un in the DPRK’s May 2016 congress and has seen posters promoting North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities replaced with ones advocating for increased industrial production.
A series of posters celebrating the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration between Pyongyang and South Korea have also been released. As part of the agreement, both Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in made a pledge to work towards peace on the Korean peninsula.
As for the anti-American propaganda, that started to disappear in May during the weeks leading up to Kim’s June 12 meeting with US President Donald Trump. At the meet, North Korea confirmed its “unwavering commitment to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”
However, according to US Defence Secretary James Mattis, Pyongyang is yet to make any efforts towards making that a reality.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mattis said he is unaware of any steps taken by North Korea towards dismantling its nuclear weapons programme since the Singapore summit and does not expect any in the immediate future.
Negotiations between the US and North Korean teams are continuing in an attempt to iron out the details of what was a vaguely worded agreement between the two leaders in Singapore.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he will be taking the lead in those negotiations, but the next meeting has yet to be arranged.