After Korea summit, Kim Jong Un will never be laughed at again

15-Jun-2018 Intellasia | News.Sky | 6:02 AM Print This Post

John Everard, a former British ambassador to North Korea, says Kim Jong Un comprehensively out-manoeuvred Donald Trump.

Perhaps now the international community will admit just how badly it underestimated Kim Jong Un.

When the almost unknown young man ascended the throne of North Korea in 2011, his hair awkwardly styled to resemble his grandfather’s, he was laughed at and some wondered how long he would last.

The patronising grins started to fade when the senior officials that Kim had inherited from his father began to disappear and were replaced by younger men close to the new leader. They faded further when he began to test missiles. By the time he had had both his uncle and his half-brother killed and had detonated a hydrogen bomb, the grins had vanished completely.

Kim was no child king but a ruthless and brutally effective ruler in the toughest North Korean tradition.

But there is another side to him. People who have met Kim describe a smiling, affable man, devoted to his family, with a ready laugh and a ready wit. He is very different from his reclusive father, who disliked making speeches or appearing in publicreleasing written messages instead of delivering a traditional New Year’s Day speech.

Kim Jong Un not only reinstated the tradition of a direct address to his people but started to appear in person at political meetings and to make speeches there too.

He seems to enjoy public events. The Chinese, whose leaders have now spent many hours with him, say too that he thinks strategically, that when he speaks he is always crisp and to the point, and that he is well informed and reads his briefs carefully. They also say that he is careful to put people at their ease and that, leader though he is, he is always careful to show deference to older men.

It is now also clear that he is very clever, or at least is prepared to listen to sound advice. Both in the run-up to Tuesday’s summit and at the summit itself, he comprehensively out-manoeuvred Donald Trump.

The curious delay between the working lunch and the signature of the joint statement, and the delay in the circulation of the statement afterwards, suggest that Kim had engineered last-minute changes to the document, catching the Americans off guard and leveraging the knowledge that Trump wanted a document much more than he did.

Then, after the summit, Kim simply leftleaving the president to face the media.

Trump repeatedly told journalists what he thought Chair Kim wanted or would do. In effect, Kim Jong Un had recruited the president of the United States as his press spokesman.

The president was quite right to reaffirm at that news conference that Kim Jong Un is talented. He was equally right to observe that that does not mean that he is nice.

Singapore was Kim’s day, a coming out party at which he showed conclusively that, small poor and repressed though North Korea is, he plans to keep it right at the centre of the world stage. Kim Jong Un will never again be laughed at.


Category: Korea

Print This Post