Pyongyang: North Korea is stepping up a new loyalty campaign as leader Kim Jong-un prepares for his second summit with President Donald Trump. The campaign began last month with the introduction of a song in praise of the nation's flag.
A video now being aired on state-run television to promote the song called "Our National Flag", shows repeated images of the flag being raised at international sports competitions and being formed by a sea of people holding up coloured lengths of cloth at a rally on Kim II Sung Square.
Other images show recent improvements in the economy and standard of living, a reflection of a current government policy shift that focuses on development and prosperity. The video is a departure from the tone of the propaganda that dominated just two years ago, when tensions with Washington were escalating and the focus was on North Korea's successful missile tests.
In the summer of 2017, the country's most popular musical group, the all-female Moranbong Band, released "The Song of the Hwasong Rocket" to commemorate the successful launch of North Korea's first intercontinental ballistic missile. They also performed at concerts with big-screen images of the ICBM behind them.
The new video incorporates imagery from the most recent mass games event, which was staged last September to mark the country's 70th anniversary. It briefly shows troops at attention during a military parade and fighter jets creating smoke trails in the national colours of blue, red and white.
But it also is interspersed with shots of civilians marching at the same parade, clips of new high-rise apartments in the capital, Pyongyang, fireworks displays and rows of students in their school uniforms.
Lyrics to "Our National Flag" have been distributed widely. Large posters showing the flag and the lyrics are being displayed in factories. But the nationalist call for unity and the less-militaristic message of the new video are in keeping with an effort in North Korea to dial back its public displays of overtly anti-US propaganda and redirect attention to Kim's current priority of mobilising the entire country behind improving the economy.
Kim has since made some big strides with Beijing and Seoul toward undercutting support for the US-backed sanctions that have constrained his development plans. Though little progress has been made on Washington's main concern, denuclearisation, Trump announced during his State of the Union address on Wednesday that he will meet Kim again in Vietnam on Feb 27-28....