Is North Korea’s Kim Jong-il Playing Jimmy Carter?


We’ve seen this sort of thing go down before. Someone is all about hanging out with you, emailing, calling, texting…and then when you finally set a date and prepare to meet, he or she debarks for another country spur of the moment, or maybe even stands you up outright. Can such be the case with North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, who had invited Carter for a visit and then took off via “special train” to China a day after Carter arrived in Pyongyang?

Per the New York Times, Kim’s departure is “highly unusual.”

Two South Korean intelligence sources who, like the presidential aide, spoke under condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that Mr. Kim might be taking his third son with him to formally introduce him to Chinese leaders. South Korean news outlets reported the same possibility.

Speculations for why he might have left also include North Korea’s need for Chinese aid due to flood damage, or possibly the need for medical treatment in China.

Or…he’s playing hard to get:

“A possible political message of this is that North Korea gives its priority to China over the United States,” said an analyst.