Chinese State Media Downplays Coverage of Trump-Kim Summit

June 14, 2018 Updated: October 8, 2018

The summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore this week was a historic meeting between the two nations’ leaders. The news dominated headlines around the world, with media running coverage of the summit on their front pages.

Except in China, where the news was just a blip in the state media coverage.

The Chinese regime’s mouthpiece newspaper, People’s Daily, chose not to run the story on the front page.

In its June 12 edition, the newspaper instead ran stories about domestic affairs, such as a story about Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s remarks at a recently held summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Epoch Times Photo
The front page of the People’s Daily June 12 issue. (Screenshot via People’s Daily)

Where was news about the Trump–Kim summit? On the very bottom of the third page, in the right-hand corner, in a short piece about their signing of an agreement on denuclearization.

Nowhere in the entire newspaper were photos of Trump and Kim’s meeting to be found.

Why was the world’s biggest news censored out of Chinese state media? China observers have their theories.

Zhou Xiaohui, China political commentator at The Epoch Times, believes Beijing wishes to downplay the fact that China was marginalized amid the denuclearization talks.

The reality is in sharp contrast to other state propaganda, which previously claimed that China would be instrumental in the process.

A June 4 editorial in the state-run Global Times opined, “If China does not participate, and U.S.–North Korea or U.S.–North Korea–South Korea were to sign a declaration ending the war, it cannot technically replace the armistice,” since the 1953 armistice was also signed by the Chinese armed forces who participated in the Korean War. “It would only be a bilateral or trilateral document, and thus can be nullified at any moment.”

But the summit went on as planned, with the United States and North Korea negotiating directly without China.

North Korean state media, on the other hand, has celebrated news of the summit, running front page spreads and calling it “the meeting of the century.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s state-run newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, analyzed the situation as follows in a June 12 report: The North Korean regime sought to display the backing of a powerful ally, China, by borrowing a jumbo jet from it to make the trip to Singapore.

The jet showed the logo of the state-run carrier, Air China, along with the emblem of the Chinese national flag. The symbolism was hard to miss.

However, the Chinese regime didn’t garner any benefits in return, as the North Korean regime went ahead with negotiating with the United States without China’s assistance, according to the Russian newspaper.

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