For the man who has long kept his hermit kingdom cut off from the rest of the world, 2018 seems to be the year that he's breaking out of his shell. Photos showing Kim Jong Un engaged in smiling diplomacy are a fairly recent development; the supreme leader is as involved in international relations as he's ever been since he took over his father's mantle. If the smiles he's been willing to put out for the cameras is a sign of things to come, then thawed tensions could just be the beginning.
What the public can actually confirm about North Korea's supreme leader could barely fill out a sticky note. Kim's upbringing, his birthdate, his hobbies, and how many kids he has are all somewhat of a mystery. Then there's the darker side — there have been numerous reports and studies into the country's human rights abuses as well as startling interviews with escaped defectors.
For what little the world knows about Kimthough, people can still learn a lot from his photo opps. Nearly all of the most recent photos have featured a grinning Kim, usually clad in a black Mao uniform, at the forefront of international news for most of 2018. The militarized country might be secretive, but the outside world does get at least a few opportunities here and there to see Kim.