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Over the past year, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has put on a new face for the world. He's been meeting leaders like US president, Donald Trump, Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, and South Korea's Moon Jae-in. But despite the pageantry of the Singapore Summit and the glitz of the Pyeongchang Olympics, North Korea has yet to take major steps towards giving up its nuclear arsenal and Washington has yet ease any of its sanctions, this might lead to patients on both sides soon wearing thin.
I'm Reuters John Smith in Korea, and this year I've been following Kim Jong-un's transformation.>>
> Kim Jong-un has had something of a makeover in South Korea. There is still significant number of people who are very opposed to the North Korean leader, but among the broader population we've witnessed a sea change in attitudes towards Kim Jong-un since his outreach to Moon Jae-in earlier this year.
It's been very interesting as a journalist watching this transformation around. When I arrived, North Korea was still launching missiles and issuing threats, but this year we are now seeing flattering images of Kim Jong-un pop-up around the city, including on Seoul's city hall.>>
When I visited Pyongyang for a reporting trip in September, a shift was apparent in North Korea.
Gone were most of the anti-American propaganda posters that the North Korea is so famous for, and a major military parade did not include any of North Korea's most provocative long range missiles that can potentially carry its nuclear weapons. At the same time, we witnessed thousands of screaming and marching North Korean soldiers shaking the ground literally beneath our feet.
And in the controlled atmosphere of Pyongyang,it can be hard to tell what is real and what is a show. Likewise, the world is still trying to determine whether Kim Jong-un's transformation this year is real or whether it will be all reversed. North Korea has halted its nuclear testing but not given up any weapons, while the United States has halted the military drills that have been such a fixture in Korea over the years, it has yet to ease any sanctions as demanded by North Korea.
After Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump came away from their Singapore Summit with very few specific agreements, there is a lot of scepticism over their plans to meet again. It appears increasingly likely that we will be seeing another round of glitzy photo ops, hand shakes, and TV appearances before we see more progress on nuclear weapons or sanctions.