Last New Year’s, I made the following prediction:

2. North Korea’s leader will be Kim Jong Gone: The rogue nation will be brought to heel, and “Rocket Man” will be launched for a more rational leader.

I will argue I was correct. After 2018’s Singapore Summit with President Donald Trump, Chairman Kim Jong Un ver. 2 was installed, and the clearly more rational leader gave a New Year’s address in a Western-style suit instead of Maoist attire.

Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s address is a signal that North Korea’s transition to a “normal country” is on track despite a lack of rapid progress in denuclearisation. The international community needs to keep engaging Pyongyang in order to encourage positive reform.

…The overall image of North Korea that emerges from the speech is a country focused on economic development and modernisation. Mr Kim spent the bulk of this speech highlighting achievements and areas for improvement in the economy and society. At the start of the speech, he made clear the country has been on an all-out campaign for economic development since making the shift last April away from the “byungjin” policy of simultaneous progress in economic and military spheres. When he then briefly touched on the importance of military strength, Mr Kim took care to add that the defence industry’s goal was to support the economy.

Kim’s address included several statements highlighting the willingness to continue talks with Trump as well as denuclearlize.

While Kim’s address included conditions for further talks with the US, Seoul welcomed the speech as a sign of the North Korean leader’s willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and achieve denuclearization.

…“I am ready to sit face to face with the US president again at any time going forward, and will make efforts to produce an outcome the international community would welcome,” he said in an apparent response to a series of conciliatory gestures from the US.

Conservative pundit Don Surber noted that the way Kim’s address was described by American media is arguably the first #FakeNews story of 2019.

…American journalists asked themselves, how can this be spun to make President Trump look bad?

CNN’s headline was, “Kim Jong Un says North Korea isn’t making nukes, warns US on sanctions.”

To illustrate the report, CNN used a file photo of him in his gray dictator garb rather than the business attire he actually wore in his speech.

Surber offered other examples of the biased, anti-Trump coverage of an important international development. It’s a good thing we bloggers are still doing the work the American press won’t do.

Further news that our journalists won’t cover is that South Korea’s military is planning a speedy implementation of Joint Security Area accord with North Korea.

Unarmed border guards of the two Koreas will be able to walk across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) starting as early as this month, as the South’s defense authorities will step up efforts for the early implementation of a recent inter-Korean military accord on reducing tensions, a government official said Tuesday.

…The two Koreas and the United Nations Command agreed in principle to allow their security guards to move “freely” across the MDL. But they have yet to sign a joint document on new guidelines on relevant operations, including a surveillance system.

The official said South Korea’s military is pushing for another round of consultations on the issue this month.

If a compromise is made, the envisioned measure can be implemented immediately, he added on the condition of anonymity.

In response to the message and the continuing partnership between the two Koreas, Trump has a message for Kim, the press and the American people.

I look forward to covering more progress in 2019, as our press will likely continue to sweep any good news for President Trump under the rug.