North Korean leader Kim Jong-un writes twice in his last letter of “idiot”

The last of the 27 personal letters released by the Korea-U.S. Club was from Chairman Kim Jong-un, dated August 5, 2019, to then-President Donald Trump. The expression ‘fool’ appears twice in this letter. It appears once in the sentence “You won’t make me look like an idiot who just gives and gets nothing in return, unless you see our relationship as a stepping stone only to your benefit.” Once again, at the end of the letter, it says, “We surprised the idiots of the south a bit and it was so much fun”.

The reason ‘fool’ was chosen as the key word is not only because it is a very unusual expression in the personal letter of the head of state, but also because it shows the feelings of Kim Jong-un at the time. At that time, Kim Jong-un’s disappointment served as the basis for his determination to focus on nuclear force for security, self-reliance for the economy, and China and Russia for diplomacy.

Promise not kept

At the end of February 2019, when the second North Korea-US summit ended with a ‘Hanoi No Deal’, Chairman Kim, who traveled from Pyongyang to Hanoi by train for more than 120 hours, was shocked. Perhaps he felt sorry for this, Trump sent a personal letter dated March 22 to appease him. “I am writing this letter to convey my warm regards ahead of the anniversary of the birthday of President Kim Il-sung, who founded a great nation,” he said. I am looking forward to it,” he wrote.

Kim Jong-un, who received this letter, probably remembered ‘even if I hate it once again’. In a reply sent 80 days later, he said, “I believe that the profound and special friendship between us (omitted) will act as a magical force that will guide the progress of North Korea-US relations.” will come,” he wrote. Two days later, Trump replied, “I totally agree.” However, there was also a strange war of nerves. While Kim Jong-un preferred a summit, Trump suggested a working-level meeting, saying, “Let’s see our negotiating team meet again within a few weeks.” In fact, the Trump administration offered North Korea several working-level talks, but North Korea remained silent.

The reversal came at the end of June. At the time, Trump was scheduled to visit Seoul via Osaka, Japan, where the G20 summit will be held. However, on the morning of June 29, just before departing for Seoul, he tweeted, “If Chairman Kim sees this, I will be able to meet him in the DMZ to shake hands and greet him.” Trump suggested that working-level talks be held before the summit, and the US State Department announced that the North Korean and US leaders had no plans to meet until just before the summit. Why did Trump suddenly propose the DMZ meeting? At the G20 summit, Trump complained that there wasn’t much US media coverage of his performance. The attention of the American media was focused on the television debates of the Democratic presidential candidates. As a result, Trump’s surprise proposition really paid off. The tweet changed the headlines of the American press.

Confused about whether Trump’s proposal was sincere or a joke, Kim Jong-un requested an official diplomatic document. Trump then wrote a personal letter. “I will be near the DMZ in the afternoon (June 30), and it is suggested that we meet at 3:30 PM at the Peace House on the southern side of the Military Demarcation Line.” Kim Jong-un accepted the proposal and President Moon Jae-in accompanied Trump, and the Panmunjom lightning meeting was completed. At first, Trump said, “There is no special agenda” and “It is okay to exchange greetings for two minutes.” At this meeting, Trump promised to cancel the South Korea-US joint exercise scheduled for August, and Kim Jong-un responded that he would agree to a North Korea-US working-level meeting. And North Korea proposed to the US to hold a working-level meeting in August.

However, no matter how much he waited, he did not hear the announcement that he would cancel the South Korea-US joint exercise in August. Rather, according to then-White House security adviser John Bolton, Bolton met with Blue House security chief Chung Eui-yong on July 24 and agreed to conduct joint exercises. Kim Jong-un’s ‘recommendation’ came out in the midst of this. At the place where he instructed the short-range missile test launch on July 25, he said, “South Korean officials stage a ‘handshake of peace’ in front of the world, fidgeting with documents such as joint declarations and agreements, and sit back and join forces with the import of the latest offensive weapons. They are showing a double behavior of doing strange things, such as carrying out military exercises,” he said.

However, the Moon Jae-in administration paid more attention to the launch of short-range missiles rather than the recommendations of Kim Jong-un. Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo at the time defined these as “provocations” and “threats,” and said that if North Korea continues provocations, the Kim Jong-un regime and the North Korean military will be “considered as enemies.” In addition, the Ministry of National Defense announced in early August that it would conduct joint exercises from the 11th. Kim Jong-un then sent a long letter to Trump on August 5, saying, “I knew that the provocative joint military exercise was canceled or postponed ahead of the North Korea-US working-level talks to discuss important issues.” Are you aiming?” he asked. It is in this context that the Moon Jae-in administration was described as an idiot. He also said that he had no intention of holding a working-level meeting in such an environment.

A sad premonition that is not wrong ‘No Deal’

When Kim Jong-un harbored a sense of disappointment and betrayal toward South Korea and the United States, Trump was bragging about it. In his personal letter, Kim Jong-un asked, “What have you done, and how should I explain to the people what has changed since we met?” The bizarre sentence ‘Don’t treat me like an idiot’ came from this context. And unlike his previous letters, which have revealed impatience, he wrote: “We are in a different situation than then, and there is no reason to rush.”

In fact, the working-level meeting held in Stockholm, Sweden on October 5 ended with a ‘no deal’. The decisive reason was the issue of sanctions. Prior to the meeting, Trump said that “sanctions should be maintained,” and the US negotiating team also maintained that sanctions were an exception to “simultaneous and parallel implementation.” North Korea then declared a ‘no-deal’ on the grounds that there was no change in the US attitude to the issue of “survival and development,” that is, sanctions. Kim Jong-un’s ominous premonition was right.


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