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Kim Jong Un takes selfies, surprises crowds in Singapore with late-night tour

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took a night-time stroll around some of Singapore’s sights late Monday ahead of his summit with Donald Trump

world Updated: Jun 11, 2018 21:10 IST
Bloomberg
Bloomberg
Singapore
Kim Jong Un,North Korea,Singapore
Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Singapore's Education Minister Ong Ye Kung pose for a photo in Singapore June 11, 2018, in this photo obtained from social media.(REUTERS Photo)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiled and waved to a cheering crowd during a surprise late-night tour of Singapore on the eve of his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

About 100 reporters and Singapore residents shouted his name and took pictures with phones as Kim visited Marina Bay Sands resort, famed for its rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city. He later strolled along the harbor at the heart of the central business district with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who tweeted out a selfie with Kim.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits Merlion Park in Singapore, June 11, 2018. (REUTERS Photo)

It was Kim’s only foray on Monday outside of the St. Regis hotel, where he’s been staying since his arrival a day earlier. He was accompanied by his sister Kim Yo Jong and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

The trip marked a rare outing in a modern metropolis for a reclusive leader who presides over one of the world’s poorest countries. Kim has sought to overhaul his image this year in a bid to ease international sanctions imposed after he tested nuclear bombs and long-range ballistic missiles.

The trip to Singapore -- almost 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) south of Pyongyang -- represents Kim’s farthest trip from home since taking power after his father’s death in 2011. The city-state of 5.5 million serves as neutral turf for both sides, since it has security partnerships with the U.S., a North Korean embassy and strong ties with China.

To contact the reporters on this story: Keith Zhai in Singapore at qzhai4@bloomberg.net, Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.net.

First Published: Jun 11, 2018 20:46 IST