Wednesday, June 28, 2006


A former student directed my attention to the following stories. The first is about a South Korean who moonlights as a Kim Jong-il impersonator. No pictures, alas, but a telling quote about how attitudes towards Kim and the DPRK have changed in South Korea:
But much has changed since 2000, when then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung went to Pyongyang for a historic summit with the North Korean leader. The impersonator's big worry now is that his imitation of Kim Jong Il could chill the warming relations between their countries. "I wouldn't want Kim Jong Il to be offended by anything I do," Kim said. "I don't want to portray him as an evil person."

The second article chronicles an abortive attempt to broker a deal between North Korea and the state of Israel. Things came to a head when two Israeli delegations, one from the Foreign Ministry that was in favor of the deal and one from Mossad that opposed the deal, found themselves on the same plane to P'yongyang. No doubt that was an interesting flight.
However, the Mossad thought otherwise. The then-head of the Tevel branch, Ephraim Halevy (later Mossad chief), and one of his officials, Dubi Shiloah, had heard about the move from the Foreign Ministry. They rushed off on a secret mission to Pyongyang in an effort to beat the Foreign Ministry delegation and to torpedo the initiative. But due to flight delays, they arrived in Pyongyang at the same time as the Foreign Ministry delegation. Embarrassingly, the two delegations encountered each other when they boarded the flight from Pyongyang to Beijing.

Happy reading.

1 comment:

tkpark said...

According to many sources, Kim Jong-Il has a great sense of humor. I just hope that he retains that quality of his when he sees his impersonator on TV.