Kim Dynasty Sat Down With a U.S. Chief Earlier than, With Few Outcomes

Kim Dynasty Sat Down With a U.S. Chief Earlier than, With Few Outcomes

In North Korea, Mr. Kim flattered Dr. Albright at each flip. He hosted her at a lavish dinner replete with French wine. She introduced him with a basketball signed by Michael Jordan. He additionally stunned her by inviting her to a mass propaganda present at a sports activities stadium.

Dr. Albright’s aides knew that she may be put in an ungainly spot by sitting subsequent to Mr. Kim as the stadium erupted in a frenzy over a extremely choreographed efficiency by well-trained dancers and gymnasts celebrating the 55th anniversary of North Korea’s Communist Get together. However they determined to threat her look on the occasion, fearing that rejecting Mr. Kim’s invitation would anger him.

The 2 sat collectively within the first ring of the stadium. Midway by way of the present, a picture of a ballistic missile launch was superimposed on the wall of the stadium in entrance of her — showcasing the very weapon Dr. Albright had come to steer the North Koreans to cease producing.

It was an incongruous and embarrassing second. Dr. Albright had made democracy in darkish locations her leitmotif however was put within the place of watching, and applauding, a propaganda spectacle by a tyrannical Communist regime.

Afterward she stated that Mr. Kim had turned to her because the picture of the missile was displayed and “quipped” that the launch of the Taepodong 1 missile that was being proven was the primary such take a look at of the weapon — and could be the final.


Dr. Albright’s aides knew that she may be put in an ungainly place by sitting subsequent to Mr. Kim, however they risked her look on the occasion, cautious of angering him with a rejection.

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Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Photographs

Dr. Albright was requested by reporters if Mr. Kim had given her an “unqualified pledge” to not take a look at any extra missiles. The secretary stated that she took his phrases to be “severe,” however stopped in need of giving definitive solutions about her talks.

On her return to Washington, the Clinton administration debated whether or not to simply accept an invite for the president to go to Pyongyang to shut a deal beneath which the North would curtail the event of longer-range ballistic missiles in return for billions of {dollars}. However North Korea wouldn’t quit its shorter-range missiles, which posed direct threats to Japan and South Korea, main American allies.

Moreover, Mr. Kim declined to provide assurances of concrete outcomes upfront of a Clinton journey to Pyongyang, and insisted on doing the negotiations “on the spot” there.

And Mr. Clinton on the time had one other tantalizing prospect: attempting to dealer a Center East peace deal between the pinnacle of the Palestinian Authority, Yasir Arafat, and the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak. That didn’t succeed both.

Many would later view the Albright-Kim assembly as a propaganda victory for the North Koreans, because the formalities of her journey revolved round paying respects to the Kim dynasty. She visited the mausoleum of Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of the present chief, and stopped briefly at his bier.

She additionally visited a kindergarten the place American meals donations had been served beneath a United Nations program, giving the impression that North Korea’s widespread malnutrition from a nationwide famine was beneath management.

The warming relations beneath Mr. Clinton had been short-lived. President George W. Bush got here into workplace two months after Dr. Albright’s go to, and a 12 months later, following the Sept. 11 assaults, he denounced North Korea as a part of an “axis of evil” together with Iran and Iraq, a transfer that swiftly ended contact with Pyongyang.

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