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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Sightseeing and selfies: Kim Jong Un tours Singapore

The North Korean leader took a late-night tour of the city's sights ahead of historic US summit

Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan (L) takes a selfie with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walks along the Jubillee bridge during a late-night tour of Singapore.
Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan (L) takes a selfie with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walks along the Jubillee bridge during a late-night tour of Singapore.

As Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore for a historic summit with US officials, it became clear that North Korean president Kim Jung Un was not going to miss out on the opportunity to do a spot of sightseeing.

If a late night wander of Singapore wasn’t enough drama, then another cultural marker quickly fell – the dictator’s public selfie went viral.

The picture, perhaps the first ever by the North Korean leader, was snapped during a visit to the city’s Garden Dome, Vivian Balakrishnan Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, and posted to Twitter early on Monday with the caption “#guesswhere?”

The selfie sees Kim offer a wholesome smile, a display that belies the iron-fist with which he rules over North Korea.

This is the furthest a reigning North Korean President has ever travelled from Pyongyang in the country’s history, and it appears Mr Kim used the opportunity to take in some of the sights.

In one video clip, Mr Kim waves to crowds as he enters Marina Bay Sands Hotel surrounded by a team of robotic body guards. His entrance cheered by on-looking crowds, one journalist described it “like a rockstar”.

Another shot shows him atop the hotel, owned by staunch Trump-loyalist Sheldon Adelson, taking in the views night-time views of Singapore’s cityscape.

There too was the late night stroll across the city’s Jubilee bridge, of course again flanked by his army of robotic henchmen.

Mr Kim’s selfie comes as part of a wider trend of world leaders getting in on the act. In April, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri posted a selfie with King Mohammed of Morocco and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, just months after the drama triggered by his shock resignation during a trip to Saudi Arabia.