Hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un undertook a surprising sightseeing in Singapore on the eve of his historic summit with US President Donald Trump, North Korea's state-run media KCNA (Korean Central News Agency) said the supreme leader learned about Singapore's "social and economic development" during his surprise outing in the city-state, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Kim, along with his sister and aides, visited renowned tourist attractions in Singapore and was also accompanied by some of Singapore's top ministers, including Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
The KCNA reported about Kim's visit to Singapore in a rare confirmation of the leader's detailed itinerary abroad.
"Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, toured various places of Singapore on June 11," the KCNA said.
"Going round the Great Flower Garden, one of the prides of Singapore, Sky Park located on the roof of the world-famous Marina Bay Sands building and Singapore Port, he learnt about the social and economic development of the Republic of Singapore," it added.
Kim's thirst for development speaks a lot about the entire episode of North Korean peace process
This report speaks a lot about Kim Jong-un's calculation in this entire episode of rapprochement. Even though his regime has displayed enough gut by taking on the rest of the world with the nuclear programme, 34-year-old Kim also understands that only taking a stand of jingoism will not help his country overcome the difficulties - economic and otherwise - that have been made worse by the imposition of the sanctions.
The only viable alternative for Kim was to open up his country and gain from foreign engagements and hence started his diplomatic posturing, including proposing direct talks with President Trump.
He visited China and South Korea twice in the run-up to the June 12 summit, giving enough evidence that he has no reservation when it comes to his country's welfare.
North Korea is located in a region which is also home to a number of prosperous countries like China, Japan and South Korea. There is no reason to suspect that the people of the regime, who are toiling hard for their survival under a hermit regime, also want a piece of that development.
All that North Korea needed was a realisation by its top leadership about a way forward for the country which would see it survive intact and as a 34-year-old youth, Kim understood that faster than any of his predecessors and we saw how he played a key role in scripting a story which gives everybody in the room a feeling of safety and assurance.