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I Grew Up In Striking Distance Of North Korea’s Artillery. Covering Kim’s Summit With Trump Was Sobering And Personal

north korea summit trump kim jong un singapore

We stood arm’s length from each other in the tense St. Regis hotel lobby, two reporters who speak the same language waiting for the same thing.

The gulf between us was as vast as the demilitarized zone — laced with landmines and overgrown from 70 years of abandon — that separates North and South Korea.

He was a North Korean cameraman, traveling with a young tyrant to capture his stunning debut on the world stage, and I a South Korea-raised journalist working for an American newspaper.

I was one of the international press corps that swarmed to Singapore to cover Tuesday’s summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump — and to grab a glimpse of the nuclear-armed autocrat who controls a police state.

The reality-show-like theatrics and roller-coaster diplomacy before the summit were dizzying, and in the countdown to the unprecedented meeting, I felt like one of the Hollywood paparazzi staking out a major celebrity.

That was especially true my first morning in Singapore, when I walked up a service driveway to the luxury resort that would serve as the summit site, only to have hotel staff swiftly whisk me onto a golf cart and escort me back down the hill.

If I really thought about it, the stakes were sobering and personal, as they have been all my life. If war breaks out, my parents’ home in Seoul is in easy striking distance of North Korean artillery, and my brother and other military reservists would be called up to fight.

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You grow numb to the risk, like living in an inner city where the occasional shooting and drug deals are just a fact of life. Technically, North and South Korea have been …read more

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