Albright: Memories of Kim
What a difference nine years makes. Then the U.S. was toasting with Kim Jong-il, now it’s vilifying him for shooting a rocket over Japan.
Kim is the center of attention again (a place he seems to relish) after North Korea launched its rocket over the weekend, sending world powers scrambling for a response. But the U.N. Security Council has been unable to agree on how severe its words should be to scold him.
Turning the clock back, Albright was head of U.S. foreign policy for President Bill Clinton and actually met the North Korean leader. “It’s been nine years since then and so it’s hard to testify to what he is now,” she said on MSNBC.
“But there were people at that stage who thought he was crazy. I didn’t think he was crazy. He was somebody that was a very tough negotiator, and smart, and knowledgeable,” Albright said, adding that he was “totally isolated.”
Time takes its toll, but how the years have affected Kim is not fully clear since he still lives in a reclusive state.
“Who knows what’s happened to him in nine years, he did have a stroke, and he is trying to prove that he continues to be the leader of the North Koreans,” Albright said.
The Bush administration dropped the bilateral talks “and in the interim the North Koreans were able to put together enough nuclear material we now think to make eight to 10 nuclear weapons and they have broken the missile moratorium,” Albright said on MSNBC.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Pool (Albright and Kim toast in Pyongyang on Oct. 24, 2000), Reuters/Reuters TV (North Korean rocket launched on April 5)