A new intelligence file on Kim Jong-un has revealed some unflattering personality insights into the North Korean dictator.
According to Axios, the file was created through numerous extensive interviews with teachers, students and other people who knew him at his prestigious Swiss boarding school.
They claim the leader of the hermit nation was prone to violence, angry outbursts and saw himself as above his peers.
“The picture that emerged from literally dozens of interviews bears a striking similarity with the man he has emerged into today,” a source who spoke to Axios said. “Gluttonous, prone to fits of anger and swaggering around his classmates. Kim Jong-un was an [inattentive] student but demanded slavish loyalty from other children in his wake.”
The source claimed Mr Kim “frequently” hit other students, didn’t perform well in school and was often distracted.
But perhaps the creepiest part of all was the vague declaration he would regularly make to his classmates after games: “Some day you will all remember me.”
Why does this matter? Tomorrow’s historic summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump is considered more about a meeting of personalities, and less about formal policy discussion.
Mr Trump has already said the Singapore meeting will be more about attitudes and personalities than anything else.
“I think I’m very well-prepared,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude.”
That said, White House officials have claimed the President has been preparing for the summit for months.
Last week, secretary of state Mike Pompeo told reporters they’d been discussing the upcoming meeting at nearly every daily briefing.
“I am very confident the President will be fully prepared when he meets with his North Korean counterpart,” he said.
We’ve seen a well-documented image shift in Mr Kim over the past few months, amid thawing relations with South Korea — from the brutal dictator who threatened nuclear war to the laughing figure warmly embracing his counterpart across the peninsula.
WHAT KIM WANTS FROM TRUMP
The North Korean leader has more to gain from the summit than Mr Trump, and will want to play his cards right.
Some experts have argued that the biggest “prize” for the dictator is the meeting itself. North Korea has been seeking a meeting with a US president for decades — a move that signifies legitimisation of its regime and status as a country.
But there’s more in it for Mr Kim than that. The North Korean dictator’s power is at stake, with increasing pressure to save his economy before it gets worse.
From the meeting, he stands to receive potential economic concessions and create a window to transform his country’s financial status.
As per his new year’s speech, Mr Kim is seeking to modernise and develop North Korea’s economy, and open it up more to the world than his father or grandfather did.
He also wants the US and its allies to lift their “maximum pressure” economic sanctions on the hermit nation — relief it is expected to get in exchange for surrendering its nuclear arsenal.
Last year, Mr Trump imposed a full trade and financial embargo, which penalised any non-US banks, companies or people that traded with North Korea, including Japan and Australia.
Right now, China accounts for 90 per cent of North Korea’s trade, but even that went down more than 60 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.
STAGE SET FOR SINGAPORE SUMMIT
The stage is set for tomorrow’s summit, which will take place at 9am (11am AEST) on Tuesday at Sentosa, a resort island off Singapore’s port.
Mr Trump flew into Singapore’s Paya Lebar Air Base on Sunday aboard Air Force One. He came from a divisive G7 meeting in Canada with some of Washington’s closest allies, which further strained global trade ties.
Mr Trump was greeted by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Asked by a reporter how he felt about the summit, Mr Trump said “very good”.