Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Leader!

Yesterday was the 67th birthday of Kim Il Jong, the "Dear Leader" of the Democratic Peoples' Republic of (North) Korea.

In a column in today's Washington Post, the knowledgeable Selig Harrison reports on a trip he took about a month ago to Pyongyang, where met with top leaders and discussed possible options for deals on nuclear weapons. Apparently Kim did have a stroke last August, and while still participating a bit in decisions, is no longer running the government in any detail. The person on top effectivel now is his brother-in-law, Chang Soon Teak. Furthermore, the hardline National Defense Commission is on top, and Harrison was not allowed to meet with any of the "pragmatists" he has met in the past who favor a friendlier deal with the US and the rest of the world. Upshot is that they will not negotiate regarding the plutonium produced during the Bush years that is now "weaponized." They might negotiate on not producing any more, but there is a much harder line now in place there, unfortunately.

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