White House accuses news organisations of ‘elevating’ North Korea’s profile

  • Following President Donald Trump’s unprecedented acceptance of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s offer to meet, reporters asked the White House why Trump would grant such a meeting, suggesting it would improperly amplify the regime’s profile.
  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that news organisations were partly to blame for “elevating” North Korea’s status.
  • During the 2018 Winter Olympics, several news reports compared White House senior adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump to Kim Yo-jung, Kim Jong-un’s sister. Both women made appearances at the Games in Pyeongchang.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that news organisations were partly to blame for “elevating” North Korea’s profile recently.

Asked during a Friday press briefing why President Donald Trump would indicate his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – given the North’s track record of human-rights violations and general misbehavior – Sanders said that she was “glad” the reporter brought the question up.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, a lot of members in the press were actually elevating North Korea and some of the members of the regime in comparing them to people in the United States and in this administration,” Sanders said. “I think that is actually what put North Korea on a similar stage.”

“No action by this administration has even remotely demonstrated a level of rise that the media did during the Olympics and through some of those stories,” Sander continued.

Sanders was apparently referencing a comparison made between Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, and Kim Yo-jung, Kim Jong-un’s sister. During the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, both Ivanka and Kim Yo-jung were part of a delegation for their respective countries to South Korea.

As Ivanka took part in various diplomatic meetings, including briefing South Korean President Moon Jae-in, several US and South Korean media organisations published articles that compared Ivanka and Kim Yo-jung. The North Korean leader’s sister took part in separate diplomatic engagements apart from Ivanka Trump.

Later, some reports suggested Kim Yo-jung took on the role of “North Korea’s Ivanka.”

Asked by NBC News host Peter Alexander if the comparison was fair, Ivanka shrugged off the suggestion in February: “I don’t think so,” Ivanka said. “I would far prefer to be compared to my sisters here in South Korea who are thriving in this incredible democracy.”

On Thursday, South Korean officials made a stunning announcement that Trump had agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un. A time and place are not yet publicly known.

President Moon praised the outcome through his spokesperson, saying a future US-North Korea meeting “will be recorded as a historic milestone that realised peace on the Korean Peninsula.”