President Trump crosses the line

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President Trump first denounced Kim Jong Un as a “madman with nuclear weapons.” More recently, he called him “a funny guy” who is “smart” and  “a good negotiator.” This weekend, Trump became America’s first sitting American president to cross the 38th parallel and shake hands with one of the world’s most brutal dictators. 

So, what is Kim really like? Anna Fifield has discovered new details about one of the world’s most mysterious figures. Her new book is facetiously titled, “The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un.”  

Named next leader of the family dynasty at the age of 8, Kim lived life in a bubble: 

“He is not very academically minded. He loved to be out on the field and playing basketball every waking moment. He went skiing He went to Disneyland and Paris. He watched NBA games, went to Italy eating pizza, swam in the French Riviera. You know he lived the charmed life of a person with money in Europe.”

That’s a stark contrast to the public persona created by North Korea’s image makers; 

“They said that he was able to shoot a gun when he was seven years old and hit a light bulb 100 yeards away, and then he could in fact hit like ten lightbulbs in a row and that he was able to drive a car when he was five years old.”

Absurd as they sound, North Koreans who question those myths are in trouble:

“They are consigned to these camps often with three generations of their families for questioning the regime, for suggesting that Kim Jong Un might not be the best person for the job… the punishment is so severe that if you object to the system, you don’t try to change it, you try to escape.”  

Successful escapees--including some members of Kim’s family--are among Fifield’s most compelling sources.  

Credits

Guest:
Anna Fifield - US Political Correspondent, Financial Times

Host:
Warren Olney

Producer:
Andrea Brody