eternal Chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission. The following are some of them:
A Soviet Marshal Becomes Kim Jong Il’s Disciple
Dmitry Yazov, is so well-versed in military affairs that he is called a “military encyclopaedia.”
During the Soviet era, he once surprised his US counterpart. During talks with US Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, the subject of the American Civil War came up. He told the American which battle had been fought in which way, which general played which role and what were the strategic merits and demerits of the two belligerent forces. Carlucci was surprised that the Russian was better informed than himself of the Civil War, and described the Soviet Defence Minister as a “military encyclopaedia.”
Yazov was proud of being called this.
One day in July 1998, during a visit to the DPRK, he met Kim Jong Il.
Their conversation lasted for nearly five hours. They talked mainly about military affairs.
Kim Jong Il’s profound military knowledge struck the Russian with wonder. He was familiar with not only a single arm or a service but all the services of all the arms, with the cutting-edge technology of modern military science and equipment, with the strategies and tactics of modern warfare, and even with combat action-in fact, with every military sphere.
Yazov, taken aback by Kim Jong Il’s military wisdom and talent, said:
“I feel as if I’ve graduated from another military academy. Your wide-ranging military vision and profound knowledge beat me. You’re a giant not only in statesmanship but also in the military field. Let me become your disciple.”
The following happened in October 2000 when US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was on a visit to Pyongyang. The mere fact that the Secretary of State of the United States, which claimed that it was the “only superpower,” was visiting Pyongyang for the first time in the history of relations between the two countries, As the hours went by, the world, which was keeping a watchful eye on her actions, was struck with a greater wonder: she was seen to change her brooches several times, seeming to indicate variations in her psychological state.
On the day of her arrival, she was wearing a brooch with the design of the Stars and Stripes. Albright had a reputation for delivering a “delicate political message” to and skilfully handling her dialogue partners by means of different types of brooches. This brooch was a symbol of the “dignity” of the United States.
The next day Kim Jong Il held talks with her. He provided clear answers and conclusions to all her questions concerning DPRK-US relations and other complex and sensitive international issues, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and on the Korean peninsula, and the missile issue, which was of greatest concern to the United States.
Albright explicitly expressed her admiration for her dialogue partner, as if she had forgotten that she was having formal talks, saying that Kim Jong Il’s clear-cut answers were really fascinating. These words were not an expression of diplomatic etiquette but spoken from her heart. As a token of her feelings, she wore a heart-shaped brooch at a banquet she hosted in honour of Kim Jong Il. This brooch was a symbol of her respect and admiration for her dialogue partner.
Charles Kartman, who was a member of her entourage and a special envoy to the Korean peninsula peace talks, said that the Secretary of State was very satisfied with the result of her visit to Pyongyang and, in particular, she was fascinated by Kim Jong Il.
In the report that she submitted to President Clinton after her return home, Albright wrote:
Kim Jong Il is completely different from the type we have so far imagined. His theory is systematic and logical. He is not only well versed in the current complicated international issues but also correct in his analysis and judgement of the issues, and broad-minded, magnanimous and clear-cut in dealing with all affairs.
It is entertaining to have talks with Kim Jong Il, for he listens to his dialogue partner to the last in a prudent manner and with great attention, and shows himself to be magnanimous. It is, accordingly, inevitable to be drawn deep into his theories and assertions during negotiations. All in all, I could not but admit that Kim Jong Il is a leader, clear in theory in the political, economic, cultural, military, diplomatic and all other wide-ranging fields, definite in confidence, broad-minded, meticulous and many-sided.
When she appeared at the airport to depart Pyongyang, she wore a cowboy-shaped brooch, the symbol of peace, which was glittering in the sunlight.