Kim Jong-un appears to have snubbed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his most recent visit to North Korea, choosing a potato farm excursion over meeting with the U.S. delegation for ongoing denuclearization negotiations.
Mr Pompeo arrived in the North Korean capital on July 6 - but his three-day visit was ignored by the North Korean dictator.
Mr Pompeo’s aides were largely kept in the dark about the schedule for the visit, including where they would be staying, and repeated requests about when the secretary of state would be able to meet Mr Kim went unanswered.
Instead, he held talks with Kim Yong-chol, a general and member of the central committee of the Workers’ Party who is widely seen as Mr Kim’s right-hand man.
On Tuesday, North Korean state media revealed that Kim was visiting a Junghung potato farm in distant Samjiyon County, which borders China.
Kim offered “field guidance” to the workers, telling them to “introduce various species that taste good and to ensure the quality of processed potato-based foods”.
As well as a deliberate snub to Mr Pompeo, Mr Kim’s visit was significant because he chose to demonstrate North Korea’s resilience in the face of US-led sanctions on his regime. Equally, he chose to visit an area adjacent to China, which once again appears to be extending economic support to Pyongyang.